Tuesday 28 August 2012

Greenish Warbler, Blakeney Point - 26th August 2012

At 5am it was a bleary eyed start to the day as on the previous evening I had attended one of the Bat evenings put on by the local Wildlife Trust and didn't get back until late. I have to say it was a real eye opener. I have been out a few times in the dark after birding late and I always noticed the odd bat flying around here and there but until that night I hadn't realised how many there were. With the aid of bat detectors and infa red lamps we went around the fishing lodge section of Pitsford Reservoir and picked up the "clicks" of Soprano and Common Pippistrelle, Norctule and Long Eared Bats easily, and shining the lamp across the water showed lots of Daubentons Bats flying around over the surface. It impressed me so much I recon a bat detector is on the next shopping list so I can find a few for myself. So after waking at 5am John Friendship Taylor met me at my place and by 6am we were on the way to Norfolk on one of those spur of the moment trips we seem to be good at. We arrived at 8.30 and headed straight for Cley to do a bit of sea watching but unfortunately we were too late as the northerly winds had changed to westerlies and all the birds were flying well off shore. We persevered regardless though and picked up a Manx Shearwater and 2 Bonxies (with lots of other stuff that was too far away to i.d.) and then went over to have a quick look at the reserve. A couple of young Swallows sitting on the wire fences put on quite a show and really didn't seem to mind us being there as we took a few pics.

From the hide a few Little Stint could be seen, along with a Curlew Sandpiper and a Spotted Redshank being the highlights. Also a nice site was the spectacle of 7 Spoonbill flying overhead too, they looked very nice in the mornings sunshine! After this we met up with a couple of Norfolk birding buddies in the shape of Kieran Nixon and Dave Norgate. We birded their local patch (Stiffkey) before getting back to the car park and try and decide where to go next. There didn't seem to be too much about so we were a bit unsure what to do, Kieran and Dave were toying with the idea of looking for some rare Orchids and John and I were looking at heading back homewards and stopping at the Ouse Washes on the way. Luckily though Dave's pager went off to herald the arrival of a Greenish Warbler on Blakeney Point. As most birders would know, Blakeney Point isn't the easiest place to get to. It is a 3 mile long gravel bar that sticks out into the sea with a few areas of vegetation at the end and it seems like a very long walk to the end over the shingle. So we headed to Morston with the hope of getting one of the Seal cruise guys to give us a lift over. Unfortunately we drew a blank as none of them would drop us off on the point because of the tide making it difficult for them. Luckily though I did notice another company offering sail boat cruises just next to the entrance to the car park so I decided to try and work my charm with them. Luckily it worked and they agreed to get us over there in a small boat (very small!) so long as we didn't mind getting wet. We of course leapt at the chance and despite realising we were stranding ourselves a little bit we soon found ourselves on the water heading out to the point. We arrived in no time at all and after watching Kieran fall out of the boat (quite possibly one of the funniest things I think I have ever seen in my life) we made our way to the bush the bird was in. I am pleased to say the bird was showing incredibly well, the sun had really brought it out into the open and it busily fed around the top of the bushes for a long time affording superb views. We were a little apprehensive at the start as the initial report on the pager was that the bird was allusive by my word were we glad we made the effort to get over here. This gorgeous green warbler with light coloured wing bars and distinctive supercillium fed away and we took a few pics. The best one being this taken by John Friendship Taylor.

After enjoying the Greenish Warbler we started the long trudge back to Cley. Due to the tides we had to leave Morston in a hurry and we didn't have time to get a car to Cley so we could drive back to the other car in the harbour car park. This also meant that the boat company couldn't pick us up either so we knew we had a long walk ahead of us. We checked the plantation before we left and although we couldn't find the previously reported Pied Flycatcher we did find this rather dapper Whinchat there which posed very nicely indeed, in fact it just kept coming closer and closer.

We checked the vegetation as we made our way back to the land but with the exception of a fly over Tree Pipit we didn't find much other than Skylark, Meadow Pipit and a few Dunnock. By the time we nearly got back to Cley the sun was getting low and the scenery was quite spectacular with the dark clouds and the low sun meeting the beach so I took the opportunity to grab a pic before we reached the bank at Cley and followed the road into the village.

The first port of call was the pub and we sat in the garden until darkness having a laugh and a few beers to try and recover from the walk. As darkness fell our taxi arrived and we got back to the cars at Morston. It was a very good day, good birds, good laughs and probably most important of all good company!! Lets hope we can do it again soon.


  1. Great trip David. After last years bat walk around Summerleys my mate Phil did exactly the same thing and purchased a bat detector, it is very addictive so be warned lol. Check eBay for best deals though

  2. Hi Douglas thanks for the tip, I shall have a check on ebay when I get one!! Also sorry for late response the internet connection has gone down in the house.


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