Up until last Thursday (22rd August) I had only managed to add one species to my annual tally – Wood Sandpiper on Kelling WM, but on the following day the first Pied Fly appeared. On Saturday 24th, I seawatched for four hours from 0630hrs and managed to add Red-necked Grebe, Purple Sandpiper, Black Tern and best of all a fly-by Red-necked Phalarope that was found on the North Scrape at Cley 45 minutes later. Unfortunately, I had agreed to look after one of my five grandchildren that day and so had to be back home by 11 am, otherwise I feel sure I would have added several other species. As you can imagine I felt fairly frustrated for the rest of the day as the pager kept informing me of what I was missing offshore! However, on the following morning I did pick up 3 Balearic Shearwaters and 2 Pom Skuas, while a late afternoon fall produced Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher. On Monday 26th, a Wryneck was long-overdue considering the number that were being seen around the Norfolk coast. In the event it remained for four days. Tuesday 27th was disappointing with no new species but the next day more than made up for it with an Icterine Warbler, found in the morning and ringed in the afternoon. That morning Marcus Nash had texted me to say that he thought he had a Citrine Wagtail at Kelling Hard, flying west as a bank of fog rolled in off the North Sea. But I heard no more about it and assumed that it had not been seen again (it subsequently transpired that Tony Prater and Stella Woodman had relocated it on Kelling WM in the morning). So when I found a cracking first-winter Citrine with Pied Wagtails, half-a-mile to the east at the eastern end of Weybourne Camp, I assumed that it was a different bird (as it may well have been). Marcus and I discussed whether I should count it as having been found by me, and we both agreed that it was reasonable to do so, as I was unaware that it had been seen after his initial sighting, half-a-mile away and at a different site (Weybourne Camp and not Kelling Hard or Kelling WM). I had no idea until I typed it into the spreadsheet that it actually is worth 12 points as a find! Another interesting fact is that it was ringed on the right leg, and we are trying to find out its likely origin. In retrospect, I should have made an attempt to catch it to read the ring number and details, but I don’t think that this would have gone down well with the assembled company of birders! On that particular day, I had initially erected 11 mist nets at dawn and taken most of them down by mid-morning, as nothing much was around, I then found the Icterine and both Redstarts and Pied Flys started to arrive, so I put all the nets up again! My nets were going up and down like a whore’s drawers! Finally, this morning Saturday August 31st, I managed to add 2 juvenile Long-tailed Skuas to my tally, a species that I see very few of, despite frequent reports of sightings at Cley and Sheringham, each just a few miles either side of Weybourne.
So this month I have managed to increase my species total by 14 to 181 and my points by 48 to 281
I’m sure others will have done just as well, but this week will certainly remain long in the memory.