19-10-2020 Stiffkey, Norfolk
After news broke on the Saturday and I saw social media posts from both Sat and Sunday of this extreme rarity I made the unusual decision to go on a proper twitch on Monday 19th (hopefully avoiding the crowds......not!).
A 3.30am start from Sheffield found me at Stiffkey for 6.30am in the dark, although about 10 vehicles were there already, some stayed the previous night, the rest had just arrived. As light broke after 7am more people arrived but as the tide was still out most went onto the coastal marsh to where the bird had been seen the night before. After a chat with a few birders it was clear the bird had "come ashore" the previous night to roost and the tide was due in shortly after 8am. A number of us therefore stayed on the coastal footpath to look for the bird emerging from roost.
Time passed and extensive searches found nothing, I skirted the hedgerows and adjacent fields up until around 10.30am, then I decided to go back to the car for a coffee and a sandwich. As the tide has come in all birders were back on the coastal path, some with full wellies (can be a dangerous place). As I sat there contemplating returning back to Yorkshire for the Brown Shrike a shout went up, "Just seen the bird on a marshy island disturbed by a Little Egret!", there was a quick gathering looking out to sea......no further sign for 5 minutes until another shout - It appears the bird had come back to the coastline in to the edge of the stubble field at the side of the carpark. Within two or three minutes there we all were (many in face masks) lined up looking at the bird feeding in the edge game crop. We had unbelievable views of this superb bird - a truly fantastic experience.
After around 40 minutes the bird became more elusive and I decided to go back for the Brown Shrike at Johnny Brown's Common - two new birds in one day......cracking.
Note the image thumbnails don't do them justice - these are super sharp - open in gallery view.