Tuesday, 23 October 2012



Tuesday 23rd October 2012

I think I forgot to say yesterday, but as I emerged out of the back door into the fog, there were Redwings everywhere. There had clearly been a very large arrival of birds from Scandinavia with the recent onset of light (north) easterly winds, and now they were here and lost in the fog.
This was confirmed by reports from the Norfolk coast of unprecedented numbers of thrushes dripping from the coastal bushes.
So, on Tuesday morning there was nothing else to do but to head for Norfolk. I fed the animals first and scoured the farm hedgerows hoping to find a lost Ring Ouzel, but to no avail. Then I headed through the fog towards Stiffkey where a Red-flanked Bluetail (formerly a VERY rare bird in this country, but now occurs regularly) had ditched in the fog and found the strip of coastal woodland to its liking.
The wood was absolutely jumping with birds. Robins at every turn, Long-tailed Tits, Bramblings, a Redstart, one or two Yellow-browed Warblers and all the while Redwings, Fieldfares, Blackbirds and Song Thrushes passing over and in the tops of the trees.
The Bluetail showed very well and I then embarked on a long walk along the coast toward Warham Greens, where the hedge-lined tracks that lead inland from the coast hid an astonishing display of thrushes. They were absolutely everywhere and included at least 20 Ring Ouzels. A Woodcock flew up from the ground just in front of me too.
It's amazing nothing rarer was found in the area on this day, but this was a fall of birds the likes of which I had never seen before. They didn't need to be rare to be exciting.

But it was a report of an Olive-backed Pipit (this is surely the year to see one of these fellas) that had me heading back for the car and along to Holkham Pines. No sign of the bird while I was there, but I did flush another Woodcock from just in front of me.

And that was that. Back through the fog and home just in time to feed the animals while it was still just light.

A day I will not forget in a hurry.

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