Monday, 14 January 2008

White Crowned Sparrow, Cley-next-the-Sea,Norfolk. 14th January 2008

Ive been down to Norfolk today to finally see the White Crowned Sparrow that's been thrilling the crowds down there. Shifts have been in the way of me going, so to catch up with the bird this morning was fantastic.
I set off at 2200 hrs last night as traffic would be quiet and I could have a sleep before first light. I arrived in Cley at 0230 hrs and reclined the car seat and had a snooze.
Man was it cold!
It was obvious where the bird had been, as the opposite grass verge from where the previous hundreds of birders had stood, had turned into a quagmire.
The first birder to arrive was Richard Millington, editor of Birding World magazine, which is based in Cley-next-the-Sea. He suggested that as there was no one about, I should stand by the gate of the garden the sparrow had been frequenting and a photo opportunity might arise.
I crossed the road, and set me stall up!
A few other birders arrived, some stood by the gate, others on the road. The sparrow showed briefly at the end of the driveway, a little to far away, even when stood at the gate! It is my first American sparrow and a superb bird to see in Britain.
I decided to leave my position and see how it went later in the day.
I had a short drive through the village to the beach at Salthouse where another bird I hadnt seen before was coming to seed thrown onto the pebbles. A Lapland Bunting was coming into the seed with a large flock of Snow Buntings. Ive never seen as many Snow Buntings and it made a great spectacle. I managed a few images and decided to drive back to Cley, to see if the Sparrow was showing.

On arrival, the White Crowned Sparrow was on the gravel path with the resident Chaffinchs and Sparrows feeding as if it had been there all its life.
Steve Gantlett, editor of Birding World magazine arrived and came and stood with me at the gate, whilst the Sparrow went along with what it was doing.
Its been a great day with a superb little bird and good company. The drive home was a bit ,ore hectic due to the traffic, but the journey home couldnt spoil my day.