We might not have the skills of the 'Punk Birders' but someone must be reading our birds and beer pub watching blogs, Gary was asked recently '...are you one of those 'drunk birders?'. On Sunday for the first time in a few months Gary, James and myself went out again as a trio to hunt for autumn migrants. With the Eastern Olivaceous Warbler leaving Yorkshire overnight, we instead headed for HolmeNOA and NWT reserves. We first looked in on the juv.Red-necked Phalorope at NOA'sRedwell. A smart male Redstart added a little extra value to the £3 fee for entering the hide! We had a walk around the forestry behind the NWT Info Centre where eventually Gary located a Pied Flycatcher, but little else was around. Along the entrance track we watched a Garden Warbler catching flies at close quarters, a female Redstart, Stonechat and a juv. Red-backed Shrike, before two Peregrine then drifted over low. We then went to the pub, not just pub but the best birding pub there is, the Dun Cow at Salthouse. Here i added 5 new 'pub ticks', Canada Goose, Common Tern, Hobby,Whinchatand Greenshank. We also picked out Sandwich Tern, Wheatear and Gannet all good pub birds. Doubling back to Stiffkey we eventually caught up with a Barred Warbler not far from the campsite, and also saw Garden Warbler and Whitethroat. A brief stop at Cley coastguards failed to turn up any Lapland Buntings but during a quick seawatch we saw dark, light and intermediate Arctic Skua, a few distant Gannet and a close flyby Guillemot. With the sun starting to fall in the sky we walked the back of Weyborne Camp. We failed to locate the Wryneck seen earlier in the day, but Gary found our second Red-backed Shrike of the day, large flock of 30+ Pied Wagtail failed to hold a White Wagtail and a couple of Wheatear flitted about in the orange glow.
I recently moved back to North Walsham and needing a new local patch, I soon settled on a few of my old favourite sites, but they were spread around town. All are close to the old railways track beds and my new house sits at the apex of all 5 lines that once radiated out from North Walsham, these form the arteries joining everything up. My 'Birding Alone Old Lines' patch was born, revisiting the old birding sites of youth, via the Old Railway Newtworks.