Wednesday, 19 June 2013

I got myself a second Roller.


Sunday was such a good day that I failed to notice news of a Roller in Norfolk, found mid afternoon and remaining until dusk at least. I was kicking myself a little, as I have only seen one of these beautiful aquamarine birds in Britain before. Instead, I did see this fledgeling Whitethroat marooned  and all alone on the grass. As I lay on the ground to snap it, the poor, parentless bird took a couple of hops straight onto the top of the camera!
(Unfortunately, this story does not have a happy ending).

So, Monday morning I was keen to get over to Holt and bag myself my second British Roller.  But I had the small matter of a trip to the dentist first. With that successfully negotiated, I pondered the negative news from Norfolk. The Roller had been seen early morning but had flown off, only to be relocated a little way away before it flew off again. It had gone missing for a couple of hours, so I decided to pop into Frampton Marsh for a while rather than head straight home. A stunning Spotted Redshank, resplendent in full breeding plumage, fed daintily in amongst the throng and din of breeding Black-headed Gulls. There were plenty of baby Avocets around too. I can remember when this would have been a very rare sight indeed.

As I sat in the hide just taking in the scene, news came through that the Roller was back. So I headed over to Holt and was surprised by the crowd as I pulled up. There seem to be an awful lot of retired birders in Norfolk. As they usually do, the Roller spent most of its time perched up, performing occasional sallies before returning to its perch. However, it was always slightly distant and in heat haze.

After about forty minutes the Roller flew high over the trees and over the road. But this was becoming a pattern now so I followed it. Several of us headed towards another cleared area amongst the pines and scanned every protruding branch for a flash of aquamarine blue. After a few minutes I picked it up, sat on top of a heap. Although still distant, the light was much better. I chatted to some of the locals, enjoyed watching the Roller and then headed back through Norfolk and just across the border to the farm.

This was the end of a very good long weekend indeed.

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