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Sunday, 10 May 2015

Citril Finch stunner at Holkham, Norfolk!

Early morning on Sunday 10th May, the message from BINS of a Citril Finch in Norfolk on Burnham Overy Dunes just west of Holkham woods had me on the phone and I was grateful to be offered a lift with Paul & Jane F. Around half an hour later, I was picked up together with Andrew E and an hour and a half later we were parked up in a crowded lady Anne's Drive. The long mile and a half walk taking the path bordering the Pines on the inland side saw us eventually reach the hilly slacks just west of the Pines. At around 1.10pm, we had met Justin L on the walk down who had seen the bird and Tony S, Keith D, Paul N at the slacks where they too had seen the bird indeed it had just flown back into the direction of the Pines. We also saw Rob Hol who assured us, that like Arnold Sch- it would be back! (and how right he was) While we were waiting we saw a Green Hairstreak on the gorse well picked out by Paul. Over the Pines to our right, a superb Hobby was seen hanging over the wood, with dark upper parts and scythe like wings. Within an hour at 2pm, a greenish bird with a strange call flew from the Pines and then round and west and out of sight, ws that the bird? A little later, a movement of birders to the top of a ridge were the first indication of a possible "pinning" down of the bird and when I walked across it certainly looked as if it had been seen. We were looking down into a scrubby area with a single spindly small tree just right of there and in front of it, a whole series of fallen pine cones on the ground. Just left of the tree, feeding by the cones was the absolutely stunning male Citril Finch. A really beautiful bright bird with green plumage offset by a bluey- grey nape shawl extending onto the shoulders but with green on the front face. There were a few streaks on the mantle a thick green wing bar and black on the wing tips. A really stunning bird that spent its entire time feeding on seeds by the pines and then it moved to the base of the spindly tree and then gradually it hopped around the sandy bank before finally after watching the bird for a glorious 40 minutes, it flew into the bushes. It then flew over us and seawards before appearing to perch in a tree. I then lost it before 20 minutes alter after the arrival of Rob Wil, we saw the bird fly around into a semi circle overhead before appearing to fly down into the first slack by the Pines. I have attached 2 record shots the bird was really too far away and the pictures taken into the light and heat haze there are also heavily cropped and adjusted so record shots only! Only the second record for the UK, and first definite mainland record following the first in 2008 on Fair Isle, a previous historic record of a bird shot at Great Yarmouth having removed from the records. In Norwich over the Fat Cat pub and the obligatory celebratory half pint, cheers Paul, Jane & Andrew, we saw around 3 Swifts overhead (that was before we had consumed our drinks!) Finally at around 7.30pm I decided to have a quick look at the Corton Old Sewage works, not taking my camera; which was a mistake, as first a male Whinchat perched on the barbed wire in the north east corner north side, with the bird being quite confiding and allowing a reasonably close approach. Just behind it on the eastern wire fence a male Wheatear perched too. Satisfied and with the light fading I left the birds still there.

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