UK ticks & Bogey Birds

This past weekend was spent at my parents’ in NE Norfolk. Over the weekend weather was fair though birding time was minimal and wasn’t the main priority for the weekend.

I did however manage a couple of UK ticks. The first being a complete surprise seen from the garden of my parent’s flat in Cromer. I’d be scanning the skies to try and add buzzard / swift to my dads garden list and happened upon a skein of 9 geese. At first glance the colouration suggested Canada, as I’m all too used to seeing in Hampton. However, a closer look showed much more black / white colouration and obviously smaller size, Barnacle Geese. In fact the only time I can remember recording these birds in Britain, not a bad start to the weekend.

Later on the Saturday evening me and dad made our way hastily over to Beeston Common for a reported Wryneck. When we arrived on scene the bird was a no-show. We spent an hour or so patrolling the bramble paths trying to kick the bird up, knowing it would inevitably be sat on a pathway somewhere eating ants and bathing in the sun. No such luck and we returned home. I’ve never managed to connect with this bird in the UK though I’ve been very close on several occasions. One day.

Sunday morning saw another venture into the Norfolk countryside. This time to Weybourne Camp, the main target, Great Spotted Cuckoo. This bird has been hanging around for more than a week, though at times, annoyingly elusive. We turned up shortly after 9:00 and there were already a number of birders on stakeout of the ‘clump’. A cluster of brambles, oaks and other trees. We only had to wait 10-15 minutes before the bird appeared behind the stone pillbox. Heat haze was awful and views were distant but a good 30 seconds or so of uninterrupted viewing was more than I could ask for a bird of this status. I’ve seen them abroad in the Greek islands a few times before and they’ve always been a favourite European bird of mine, elated to add to the British List.

Record shot – shows the clump and pillbox, gives you some idea of distances involved.

This bird retains much of its black crest which would indicate it’s not full adult, more likely 1st summer, a lovely bird and a great one to have in the bag.

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