Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Monday 18th October 2010 - Suffolk

First day of my week long holiday. We had originally planned to pop over to the Scillies today to see the RED-EYED VIREO on St Agnes. All the times were sorted and it was only £17-50 on the Scillonian. However, the bird was only reported twice on the Sunday - last one at 13-30hrs and elusive. I decided not to take the risk and so after hours of deliberation, we decided to head to Suffolk.

We arrived at Sizewell at first light and started to look for the PALLAS'S WARBLER that had been in the car park the previous day. We knew it was in some sycamores, so we started to check every sycamore. Birding was slow at first, but we soon found a Chiffchaff and two Goldcrest. Then three other birders arrived and things started to look up. However, there was no sign of the PALLAS's. After two hours, we headed for Southwold.

Luckily at Southwold, the two Northern Long-tailed Tits were showing very well by the toilet block on the campsite. We were then told that the PALLAS'S WARBLER was showing at Sizewell. We headed back south again.

Standing in the shadow of the Power Station

Back at Sizewell, we soon found out that the PALLAS'S was not on the car park after all, but further along in front of the power station. There was a small crowd and finally we were watching our second target bird of the day. I managed a short video clip before it disappeared. We had one more brief view and then that was it - no further sign. Another birder said he'd just seen a PALLAS'S on the car park and so we wandered back there. Why and how the bird suddenly shot off we will never know. Below are a few videograbs.

Next stop was Dunwich where locating the 1s drake King Eider was not too tricky - it was the only duck on the sea! We drove round to Dunwich Heath and got slightly better views as can be seen in my full framers below.

And then we headed off to Lowestoft for bird of the day - the RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL. Not the easiest place to find, but eventually I found Sparrows Nest Park, and then I asked a gardener where Arnold's Walk was. It was just a path in the park! We stood around, chasing after every Robin and we were soon joined by my good friend Dick from Herts. Things were looking a little bit grim until a birder came along the path and beckoned us. We had only been standing in the wrong place for half an hour. We soon joined 10+ birders in a more overgrown area, but it was heavily vegetated and quite dense. The bird could have been anywhere really. The last sighting was a claim about an hour previous. We gave it till 3pm then headed off.

As for the RED-EYED VIREO, it came on the pagers at 08-50hrs, and then again at 12-30hrs but not again for the rest of the day. Our boat across the Aggy was at 12-30hrs, and we only had 2hrs 15 mins on the island. Good decision or another error?