Friday, 12 June 2015

Nick Nack Paddy Wack!

Filthy twitching again today!
After a 4am start moth trapping at Winterton I headed up the point to try to see the Paddyfield Warbler.

I arrived at the beach car park at 9am and with the low tide helping take the strain off of the walking I was at long hills in just under an hour. The blue sky, warm sun and cool easterly breeze with terns of all species plunging next to me made the walk very pleasant as always.
Shortly after I arrived an organised search was conducted by the NT staff. This yielded 4-5 flight views, one of which I actually managed to follow with my scope somehow, this gave me the first view of its supercillium. Apart from that it was a cold coloured acro seen briefly, not ideal for a uk tick! After the flush Adam Pointer and I searched Yankee ridge area and some annoying sightings ensued. Firstly we had small bird fly up from the path and crash into some suada, we flushed it once more but failed to see it well, we both thought the colour size and shape was spot on for Quail. The annoying thing was that on the views we got I'm not sure that a young partridge could be ruled out, however it was most probably a quail on shape size and colour. Secondly we saw a rather plain looking passerine fly by us calling, neither of us recognised the call and watched it fly by and into the suada not far from the paddyfield warbler spot. The bird was rather plain brown all over and looked good for a finch, no pale in the tail or grey in the wing (tail was seen spread) and clearly not a dunnock. This rules out just about every breeding passerine on the point as mipit, skylark, reed bunting and linnet are the main contenders (all with pale somewhere). So it is another probable, rosfinch this time.
We headed back to see the mid day flush of the paddy. This time we had another 4 or so flights and it perched up for a couple of seconds in full view too, which was great. I was happy that I had all features that I was likely to see, essentially it was a cold coloured acro with a pale supercilium and no warm rump, I didnt get the bill pattern though!
I decided  to stay for the final flush since I had not seen the species before and it was almost guarenteed to see it again. The first two fushes I was concentrating on seeing the bird well enough to be happy to add it to my uk list, I decided to stay for the third to try and photograph it.
Photographing an illusive acro being flushed in suada was always going to be a challenge but I gave it a go thanks to 6 flights. The results are hardly great but I suspect the readers of this blog are well used to some dodgy shots of rarities by now, but as hoped I suspect it is identifiable from the photos (with a good description alongside it!) I was standing next to David Bryant who has a proper camera so hopefully some better shots will be his blog tonight.
So another addition to my uk list and certainly a bird that was not particularly expected, especially in Norfolk as always a very welcome addition!

A big thanks to the Nation Trust staff for carrying out the 'organised searches' for the bird, without the rope fence and staff flushes the bird would have been booted all over the place and probably not seen as well.


  1. Sorry Ben! Your best shot is better than any of mine! Great little bird, though: and as a bonus, there was a Hummingbird Hawkmoth in my garden tonight!

  2. Shame to hear that, was a bit of a tricky one to capture and probably more fluke than skill. Good little bird all the same. A nicer day than today too!
    Nice one on the hummer, always nice to see