A Tale Of Bluetails And So Much More In Norfolk 20 October 2020

This stunning Red-flanked Bluetail wowed us this morning at Holme-next-the-Sea.

We started the day at Holme-Next-The-Sea looking for a Red-flanked Bluetail on the outskirts of the village by the golf course, a different bird to the one seen early on the tour. We searched but no luck, then our friend Gary from Holme Bird Observatory happened to pass by and suggested we try a few hundred yards further east as it had been seen there at dusk the previous day. We did and after a few minutes enjoyed the most wonderful encounter with this bird! Just stunning, sitting right out in the open! We watched it for about an hour and were able to get a number of other folks to see it too by spreading the news on Rare Bird Alert.

We then headed over to Holme Bird Observatory to see what was about and to thank Gary for his helpful advice. Climbing up onto the dunes we did a short seawatch where we were lucky to see two Scaup offshore. Back in the bushes we were watching Goldcrests and a male Blackcap coming down to bathe when Ruth spotted a small bird on top of a post: Red-flanked Bluetail, a different bird to the one we had enjoyed earlier in the village. Amazing to see two of these wonderful birds in one morning! As we watched the Bluetail a flock of eleven Common Crossbills landed in the pines above us and allowed wonderful views. We then met up with Gary again who suggested the best spot to look for the elusive Dusky Warbler that had been seen the previous day. We had only been in position about two minutes when this rare visitor from the east popped up in a sallow tree and gave pretty good if brief views on several occasions. We were fantastically lucky to connect with this hard-to-see rarity.

We spent the afternoon at RSPB Titchwell and clocked up a wonderful variety of species including many new ones for our already impressive trip list. Highlights included: drake Long-tailed Duck, Slavonian Grebe, Water Pipit, Yellow-legged Gull, and although not new for our trip list, a spectacular male Hen Harrier hunting low over the saltmarsh.

Back at Burnham Overy Staithe, we set up the scopes on the veranda and almost immediately saw the Rough-legged Buzzard hunting over the dunes of Scolt Head Island, the perfect end to a perfect day!

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