Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Sunday 26th September 2010 - The hardest twitch ever?

News came out on Saturday afternoon about the Empidonax sp Flycatcher on Blakeney Point. We ummed and ah'd and decided to go on news on Sunday morning. The crew of PJ, GAS and myself headed off at 06-30hrs, but by 08-00hrs we were sat in a petrol station on the edge of Nottingham fearing the worse as there had been no news yet from Norfolk. Finally, the new reached us (direct from Blakeney from Carl and before the pagers) and we headed off again. We parked up at Cley at 10-35hrs and started the walk.
Above - The path to Blakeney Point
It was quite windy, but at first it was not raining. GAS, a spritely 76 walked at his own pace. I tried to keep up with PJ, but his superior fitness and physique eventually took its toll and he was first to arrive at the point, about 15 mins in front of me. Towards the end of the walk, it started to rain. And in fact it never stopped raining for the rest of the afternoon. We saw the Traills Flycatcher - it was showing incredibly well considering the appalling weather. Most other birds would have gone to ground. The problems started when our bins started to mist up. Eventually, GAS arrived, taking only 1hr 45 mins to walk to the point. We all had seen the bird and so took shelter by one of the buildings.

Above - GAS with PJ to the right
Below is a picture showing the birders stood out in the horizontal rain and strong wind watching the Empidonax sp

I tried to take a picture of the Flycatcher but it was useless. The camera was getting soaked and soon my scope joined my bins in being wet, steamed up and unusable. Happy with our views, we headed back. The walk back was incredible. Pouring with rain and with the driving wind, it was enough to test anyone. It took us all about 1hr50 to get back, and by the end we were all totally and utterly soaked and shattered. I shared the car back with two team members with no trousers on. A totally amazing bird and a totally unforgetable day!

Above - PJ leading the way with GAS behind - an amazing feat for a 76yr old to make it to Blakeney Point and back on a day like it was