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April 2019 at Gramborough (1 Viewer)

firstreesjohn

Well-known member
The East wind did blow . . . and blow . . . and blow . . . and we did (fleetingly) have snow ! Then, it (eventually) became ‘unseasonably warm’, with record-breaking temperatures. The pair of Dunnocks persists; the male persists in singing. Good birds turned up very close (Pied Fly) - but, not close enough. Spring can truly be said to have sprung ! However, it didn’t spring enough for me to see a House Martin all month - the first time this has happened. Where are they ? They were in short supply last year.

It should be noted that, for those interested in such things, a pair of Grey Partridges is a regular sight. I do not see them every visit, but they’re worth a shot, no ?

The male Cuckoo in the last week of the month was a most welcome visitor and the first time I can recall hearing the eponymous call here - at the interval of a major 3rd, this early in the season. On the last day of the month, it was joined by one of its much rarer cousins, the second I’ve stumbled across here. The previous one was in July 2009. Sadly, this visitor from the Med (?) did not allow such a close approach and the dull conditions meant I was unable to focus the camera and, thus, no photo. If I’d been able to choose, this would not be the rarity I’d pick. I seem to be in a rut of finding TWO of everything: Blyth’s Reed Warblers, Red-flanked Bluetails and now these ! Can I have something different, please ?

30: ***GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO*** 1st summer flew from E end to Meadow Lane at 0852h. ♂ Whinchat, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, 4 Wheatears. Cuckoo, COMMON CRANE vaguely thermalled E and over Salthouse Heath, getting higher (in a’noon).
29: ♂ Whinchat, Cuckoo, 5+ Wheatears.
28: 2♂♂ Whinchats, Cuckoo, 2 Wheatears.
27: RED DEER W, then S (not flying). 2 Wheatears, Robin early a.m. 2 Cuckoos in a’noon (♂, hepatic ♀ ↑E).
26: Willow Warbler (singing), Cuckoo, 2 Wheatears, Robin in a.m. 2♂♂ Whinchats, 4 Wheatears in a’noon.
25: Robin, poss. Whitethroat early a.m. 3♂♂ Whinchats in a’noon.
24: ♂ Ring Ouzel briefly early a.m., then flew towards Quags, Robin, Hooded Crow. Cuckoo in a’noon. ♂ Whinchat in evening. 4 Wheatears.
23: Robin, 2 Wheatears, 15 Greenshanks ↑E.
22: Willow Warbler (foy), Song Thrush.
21: 2 Wheatears.
20: 4 Wheatears, Robin, Chiffchaff, ♂ Stonechat.
19: Hooded (?) Crow over A149, ♂ Wheatear. 2♂♂ Whinchats (foy) in a’noon, Robin. Prob. ♂ Blue-headed Wagtail, with ♀ dark-headed-type + 2 flava Wagtails ↑W. [Other, experienced observer: 11 Wheatears in a’noon.]
18: Foy Whimbrels & Spotted Redshank, Chiffchaff singing, Wheatear ♂ (2♂♂ in a’noon), 3 flava Wagtails ↑E. [2♂♂ Ring Ouzels briefly - other, experienced observer.]
17: Great White Egret ↑E.
16: Wheatear ♂, Blackcap ♂, Song Thrush.
10: Possible Ring Ouzel in a’noon.
8: Chiffchaff.
6: 1♂ Wheatear.
3: Robin.
2: First Sand Martins (4 ↑W), flava Wagtail ↑, 2 Wheatears (♂♀), Robin.
 

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firstreesjohn

Well-known member
Close Encounters of the Bird Kind

I have had my best ever views of this lovely bird in the last week.

I would just like to say 'thank you' in Cuckoo language.

An unexpected Cervid (not a bird) came quite close, too. It jumped the fence into the grazing meadow with consummate ease. I'm told it's a Red Deer - but it looks brownish-grey, to me.
 

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firstreesjohn

Well-known member
The GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO is giving everyone the run-around. It was apparently seen only three times, yesterday.

Firstly at 0720h (?), when someone again flushed it from Gramboro' - but, for whatever reason, withheld news of their sighting. Then, at 0820h, one lucky observer found it lumbering around in a conifer at Kelling Water Meadows.

Lastly, it was seen (from Meadow Lane) in the easternmost brambles, back at Gramboro', late a'noon - and photographed distantly by David Griffiths. This can be viewed on the Cley Bird Club website. It then flew back towards the Meadows.

I estimate that, so far, fewer than 10 birders have managed to glimpse this Pimpernel of a bird. People have even cast doubt on its veracity:

“They said it was imaginary;
Just like a 4-humped Dromedary !
But, it went to&fro –
Was reluctant to show –
&, like most birds, it’s not stationary !

They even implied ’twoz made up;
As if All The World I’d wind up !
But, they were so wrong –
My expertise, strong !
Wot next will these people dream up ?

Early morning, ’twoz seen, but not told;
Why would someone this news withhold ?
But, now, many folks
Know it is NOTTA hoax !
Let’s hope their behaviour’s controlled !

Could we have some more Cuculid thrillers,
To devour all of them caterpillars ?
Those pesky Brown-tails
’ve went right off the rails !
We could do with 10 gross larvae killers !”
 
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firstreesjohn

Well-known member
Dave Holman has asked me to publicise if the person who alerted him to the GSC yesterday late a'noon on Meadow Lane could make himself known, so he can be thanked.

He was thus able to obtain good 'scope views, as it flew towards him from the Hill, before veering off towards the Quags.

He could PM me, if he likes, here.
 

Louis_P

Average Birder
Hello John, your persistence certainly pays off every so often - congrats on another great find! Hopefully the Great Spotted Cuckoo will hang around until the weekend if I'm lucky.

Also, is there a certain area the Grey Partridge prefer?

Thanks,
Louis
 

Penny Clarke

Well-known member
BRILLLIANT JOHN!!!:clap::clap::clap:

The GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO is giving everyone the run-around. It was apparently seen only three times, yesterday.

Firstly at 0720h (?), when someone again flushed it from Gramboro' - but, for whatever reason, withheld news of their sighting. Then, at 0820h, one lucky observer found it lumbering around in a conifer at Kelling Water Meadows.

Lastly, it was seen (from Meadow Lane) in the easternmost brambles, back at Gramboro', late a'noon - and photographed distantly by David Griffiths. This can be viewed on the Cley Bird Club website. It then flew back towards the Meadows.

I estimate that, so far, fewer than 10 birders have managed to glimpse this Pimpernel of a bird. People have even cast doubt on its veracity:

“They said it was imaginary;
Just like a 4-humped Dromedary !
But, it went to&fro –
Was reluctant to show –
&, like most birds, it’s not stationary !

They even implied ’twoz made up;
As if All The World I’d wind up !
But, they were so wrong –
My expertise, strong !
Wot next will these people dream up ?

Early morning, ’twoz seen, but not told;
Why would someone this news withhold ?
But, now, many folks
Know it is NOTTA hoax !
Let’s hope their behaviour’s controlled !

Could we have some more Cuculid thrillers,
To devour all of them caterpillars ?
Those pesky Brown-tails
’ve went right off the rails !
We could do with 10 gross larvae killers !”
 

firstreesjohn

Well-known member
Alan & Alana

is there a certain area the Grey Partridge prefer?

They are not predictable: in the sense that I see them anywhere (and by no means every visit) from the level ground immediately to the W of the Hill, on the main W-E (or E-W) track, on the S slope, in the small wooded area and immediately to the E !

What is certain is that, once flushed, they fly over the fence and into the grazing meadow, land, run further away and disappear. Natheless, they always give better views than Great Spotted Cuckoo.

Thank you for your felicitations. (I have sent you a PM.)
 

Louis_P

Average Birder
Thanks for the info John, I will look out for them on my next visit. There is also supposed to be a pair on the Eye field at Cley and 2 pairs on and around Kelling WM so my chances should be pretty good for seeing some soon without a trek to Holkham or somewhere thereabouts.

Thanks,
Louis
 

firstreesjohn

Well-known member
Perseverance, determination, tenacity, elevenacity . . .

Hello John, your persistence certainly pays off every so often - congrats on another great find! Hopefully the Great Spotted Cuckoo will hang around until the weekend if I'm lucky.
“I persist . . . & persist . . . & persist;
That way, not too much I have missed.
But, if I’m not there,
Then, at no bird can stare –
Thus, I could not add it to my list.

This kwality of sheer ‘persistence’
Means I cover considerable distance
From my home to My Hill –
Driving with superb skill !
&, always, without no assistance.

I hope it do stay/‘hang around’;
Either in a bush, or on the ground.
More, that you be ‘lucky’ –
The weather looks yucky !
It could quite so eezily be found.

Not often, but once & again,
I see a rare bird - always gen !
Thanks 4 your ‘congratz’ –
It was a ‘find’ that’s
Frustrating for most. Bye ! Amen !”
 

firstreesjohn

Well-known member
Finally, some pix:

Determining to buck the trend of following the herd, I decided to go to the Hill, instead of forlornly traipsing back & forward along Meadow Lane, or around the Quags.

This was a GOOD MOVE - as, once more, I was able to have flight views of the bird, as it flew S, yet again.

But, this time, I was able to obtain some shots, in slightly better light. The one of just the bird is slightly edited; the one with the barn only cropped.
 

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firstreesjohn

Well-known member
Let’s not have a Late Spotted Cuckoo !

The bird has been observed several times, feeding in the Brambles at the eastern end of the Hill. The bird has been flushed by unwitting birders, including myself (twice), who did not see it before it flew. The bird is, manifestly, very shy and easily spooked.

Neither the inside of the wooded area, nor the easternmost Brambles can be seen from ‘ground level’, if one approaches from the West along the main path - until one is, now fairly obviously, too close to the bird and it flees.

Therefore, and in the light of my and others’ unsatisfactory sightings, I suggest that it is either viewed across the grazing meadow from Meadow Lane, or that people skirt the Hill, by walking along the shingle beach and attempt to see it by approaching from the East.

It needs the moth larvae to survive; we, presumably, do not wish to discover its corpse in the next few days.
 

Louis_P

Average Birder
Thanks for the advice John, it would be great if this info could be put on rarebirdalert, if it hasn't been already. A half decent photo at last as well, good job and another brilliant poem!

Thanks,
Louis

P.S - You should receive an email in a minute

Edit - it seems the info, albeit in a condensed form, is on RBA
 
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firstreesjohn

Well-known member
advice . . . it would be great if this info could be put on rarebirdalert

I'm not sure how realistic some of what I've heard is: given that dog-people, ramblers, coast cyclists and others go past the 'front' of the Hill all the time. With this being a bank holiday weekend, there will be even more of these - and they will not be amenable to being so 'controlled' - especially if they're told it's not present.

Provided people don't stand on top, are well away (100m) from the wooded area and are relatively inconspicuous, I can't imagine the bird would be bothered.

Any GSCs out there, please correct me, if this is too cuckoo !
 

hamish a

Well-known member
Thanks for information about Gramborough Hill.
I reckon it visits the site very occasionally & could stay a while if not disturbed.
Any birders wandering & staying on site is not helpful although a single observer testing the habitat during the day could work.
Birders need to observe from Meadow Lane and hopefully if it settles arrangements could be made to ensure most on site can get to see it.
The most likely location for it to be seen is Weybourne Camp & hopefully those on site with access will share the sightings over the weekend & make arrangements for others to see the bird.
 
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Steve Gantlett

Norfolk Birder
If you stand on the western side of Gramborough Hill waiting for the GS Cuckoo, this is how obvious even one person is looking from Weybourne Camp. The bird is very shy and I think you will be stopping it flying in. Much better to look across from Meadow Lane and leave the hill as undisturbed as possible. Conratulations on the find, John, and getting your photo. Obviously now, I should have followed you!
 

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Louis_P

Average Birder
At least some more advice had been added onto Birdguides. I may be able to try see it tomorrow if I can get to Gramborough but from what I understand today the bird is either hidden (Weybourne Camp?) or relocated. Still worth a shot. I really fancy the bird hanging around Salhouse Heath but only time will tell.
 

James Emerson

Norwich Birder
Moss Taylor is leading a walk at Weybourne Camp today for the Norfolk & Norwich Naturalists Society as part of the society's 150th anniversary celebrations. The walk leaves at 10:30 from the Muckleburgh Collection car park and represents a rare opportunity to have a look around this private site - perhaps worth going on if you were planning on heading that way anyway? It is open to non-members so doesn't matter if you are not an NNNS member.

James

At least some more advice had been added onto Birdguides. I may be able to try see it tomorrow if I can get to Gramborough but from what I understand today the bird is either hidden (Weybourne Camp?) or relocated. Still worth a shot. I really fancy the bird hanging around Salhouse Heath but only time will tell.
 
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