28 Apr 2008

Another Cheshire 'lifer'.

The week started with a steady trickle of migrants arriving at the Lighthouse Bird Obs (LBO). The weekend was going to be spent birding in Norfolk as part of 'Groucho' Paynes stag do and I'd arranged to meet Shropshire birder Mike Stokes at Chester railway station at 06.15 Friday before picking up Al Orton & Mark Payne enroute. Having time to kill we wandered around Stanney Woods with Molly and were just settling down to listen for the Lesser-spotted Woddpecker when Mr Podster rang with the news that two Black-winged Stilts were showing well on Neumans Flash. Frantic phonecalls ensued to the rest of the team to ensure they were up and packed before we hurriedly packed the car and set off. Finding out Malc Curtin hadn't got the message as his phone was off we managed to squeeze him in amongst the tonne of camping gear and duly arrived. After filling our boots with the stilts it was time for a delayed breakfast and we set off for Norfolk via Rotherham where year lister Al wanted to see the Yank Wigeon that had been reported from the local Country Park.
The Wigeon was easily found and within a short time we were resuming our journey to Norfolk. After setting the tents up in glorious sushine we headed to Cley to walk the shingle ridge behind Arnolds Marsh where two Shore larks were reportedly still present. After a long walk we found them just as dusk was falling and watched them feed amongst the shingle until deciding to head for the tents and a quick change before hitting the pub!

The next day (Saturday) saw us heading to Titchwell where we spent a few hours befoe deciding to make a dash towards Acle where a 'trip' of 13 Dotterel were reported. What a fantastic site. From here we headed back to the coast at Waxam pausing to view Common Crane before looking at two Ring Ouzels in the empty caravan site nearby. A Wryneck had been seen earlier in the same area and luckily it was still there when we arrived - despite some people trying to close!!!!
News that a pair of Montagu's harriers had returned to 'Norfolks worst kept secret' location (from the mouth of one of the locals!) had as driving the short distance where we were treated to fantastic views of these graceful raptors - at one stage the male chased off a trespassing Marsh Harrier almost twice its size.

Sunday saw as back at Choseley drying barns where we saw yet another trip of 8 Dotterel. A total of 21 in two days! Fantastic. Corn Buntings and Yellowhammers provided good photo oppurtunities whilst we hung around debating what to do next.
Eventually we decided on Dersingham bog where we hoped to pick up one of the Black Kites that had been reported around Norfolk all week.
No Kites but we were treated to a display by a pair of Goshawks as well as a Tree Pipit and a singing Woodlark calling just like a Beeeater - a sound I'd never heard before!
With time pressing we left for the long trip back to Cheshire via Baston Pits for Red-crested Pochard and then via Rutland Water where 5 Black Terns and the nesting Ospreys provided a welcome diversion.
A great week.

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