A trip to Yarmouth with Laura's younger sisters was interrupted at 2pm when my phone rang, 'MEGA Flycatcher on the Point!' Gary was on his way but i couldn't really go. Well after 10 minutes i changed my mind, playtime in Yarmouth was over! I was dropped in the car park at Cley about 3.45pm. I started walking against a gale force wind and driving rain, with no birding equipment or real water proofs. I was still thinking Willow/Alder Flycatcher when Gary text again, 'Yellow-bellied Flycatcher', honestly I've never heard of it or have a clue where it's from. But if correct this would be a 'MEGA MEGA' a western palearctic first. Lookig up between waves of lashing rain i saw a Leach's Petrel flyby in the surf. I met Gary near Yankee Ridge as he started to walk back, i borrowed his binoculars and carried on to the plantation. I joined the throng, the bird was skulking away, a brief flash of the bird could have been 'any' bird. 15 minutes later the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher showed well for 3-4 minutes, pinching a scope i got some good views, before my line of vision was blocked. With Gary, my lift halfway back i called time and started walking back, much easier with the wind behind me. A Puffin zipped past before i decided to walk along the marsh edge rather than beach. I disturbed 3 Wheatear along with a probable Snow Bunting around Halfway House. Back in the car, Gary and I agreed this had to be the hardest twitch we had been on, wet and cold we drove home knowing if the ID was confirmed we had just seen the biggest and best bird of the year.
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.