Posts Tagged ‘Blakeney Point


The accent is on montane

Whenever I hear a really good bird is on Blakeney Point my heart sinks.

The Point is a four mile walk there and a four mile walk back … on shingle.

My tour today had cancelled due to illness, so I almost felt obligated to make the journey to see the reported Alpine Accentor that was lounging away in the dunes on the point. I hummed and harred about the walk but reconciled myself with the fact I wasn’t going to see the bird if I didn’t leave the car park!

It was a rather more pleasant walk than I envisaged as the retreating sea had left a hard strip of sand. Much more palatable than the three steps forward, two back, shingle.

The last time I saw an Alpine Accentor was almost eleven years ago at Christmas 2011 as I meandered among alpine chalets in Austria. They were like Sparrows feeding at bird tables and in gardens. Prior to that I had seen a bird at Rimac in Lincolnshire in November 1994. That was my first in the UK. 28 years ago.

The bird was being watched by a small band of bird watchers in the dunes and when I arrived it was busy feeding away. I watched and photographed it for around an hour before it became restless. Maybe the clearing skies told it it was time to move. Move it did. Taking to the air it went towards the lifeboat station where it alighted briefly and then it went upwards and East until I couldn’t see it anymore. Apparently, it alighted at the Watch House 2 miles away before maybe continuing East. I wonder if it will be seen again?

Update: Well would you believe it turned up in exactly the same location at 3:30pm on 2nd November … where on earth has it been in the meantime?


A funny little turn

Some wonderful terns nesting in Blakeney Point this year including several pairs of Little Tern. Viewed and photographed from a safe distance aboard ‘Temples Boats’.


A face only a mother could love!

Out with Derek & Jim Temple on the boat at Blakeney the other day. Not too many Grey seals on the point (they are all at Scrooby Sands) but what were there made entertaining viewing. One in particular had one of those faces. A good haul of Red breasted Mergansers too.


Third time lucky?

For the second time in as many weeks a bird at Cley has led me astray. The first occasion was when a Heron with white wings and a peach mantle got up and flew directly away from the vehicle. In the brief view suspicions of a Squacco Heron came to mind. A phone call and a text later qualified it had actually been a stained Little Egret. Damn!

Yesterday as we were checking the finch flocks at the eastern end of Blakeney Point a bird among them made my heart miss a beat. The peach and white pretender turned out to be an aberrant Greenfinch. Double Damn!




Making a Point

It’s not often that tides and weather coincide to give an ideal opportunity but last Saturday they did.

Blakeney Point pokes a finger of shingle into the southern North Sea and picks up migrant birds as they make landfall in Autumn. Getting to the point is a long four mile walk, nay SLOG, on a shifting surface; and then there’s the four mile slog back.

Tides meant that it was possible just the once in October to catch the boat out, land on the point and walk back thereby halving the uncomfortable walk. Such favourable tides don’t always coincide with a high pressure over Scandinavia, a north easterly wind and an occulting front giving ideal fall conditions for migrant birds. This last Saturday the planets aligned for us and the weather forecast looked good to give it a go.

Andy and I disembarked onto the point having already had good views of Long tailed Duck, a pair of Mergansers and both species of Seal on the way out.

Thrushes were flying overhead in bright sunshine. This wasn’t the weather we wanted. We wanted rain to drop the migrants. Still, we flushed an eared Owl that promptly vanished before yielding its name, Ring Ousels chacked away and hopped around the turf, a Lapland Bunting and a flock of Snow Buntings flew south. In the plantation a Brambling buzzed at us and a mixed flock of Goldcrest, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were joined by a Willow Warbler and a Yellow Browed.

A Redstart flicked among the Sueda and a Black Redstart or two hopped from high point to high Point. A Redpoll bush hopped while others flew overhead.

Andy detonated a Woodcock from his feet and another flew in off the sea followed by a Snipe.

It started to rain during our walk back.

A Goosander punctuated flocks of Wigeon and Redwings shrouded the shingle. A roaming flock of Goldcrests, their shining crowns glowing in the dullness of the afternoon, never revealed the Pallas’ Warbler they promised but a great Grey Shrike appearing from nowhere halted us in our stride as it posed for photographs.

Of all the birds on the point however it was the Robins that stole the show. Continental Robins with orange breasts and grey bellies. Perched on every post and bush they flycatched and fed, ravenous after their journey across the sea.

There is nothing to match migration in action especially when it’s a spectacle shared with good company.

Great Grey Shrike


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Feb 2023


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