And so it came to what, essentially, was the end of a three week birding break in the UK. Productive, enjoyable and the weather had largely been kind too. Given I'd still two nights in transit I packed the car such that most things could remain undisturbed until I got back. I took my leave of Robert ( Sturgess) at Garganey House in Hunstanton, a great host , a birder and someone willing to advise and assist ( 01485 533269 ) and someone, as an ex chef, who turns in a pretty mean breakfast too. Thanks, Robert, and for all the laughs along the way too.
I called in at Wolferton just for the hell of it, but I suspect Golden Pheasants are usually long gone by mid morning. I also tried Fen Drayton again!! C'mon RSPB get the signage problem sorted, this has all the ingredients of a mystery tour. The only benefits to this journey were various Brimstone butterflies that I saw at various places. The Smew which had been reported earlier in the week appeared to have departed, but a good selection of commoner birds was in evidence. I bumped into a " friend of a friend" and we had a good chat about the site and its management. He also told me there was a drake Baikal Teal at a nearby lagoon area , but that it had been there three weeks and that the local consensus was that it was an escape!! Not having seen any other information, I received the advice and opinion and decided to move on. I've an awful feeling this could have been a very poor decision given reports of the bird have repeatedly appeared on my Pager every day since. OK, you're allowed to laugh for ten seconds , but then exercise some sympathy ( please! ).
I called in at Holme Fen again, but had no better success with the Great Grey Shrike. I didn't know it then , but this was turning into a disaster weekend! Whilst I found a mere within the wood I could not find any wires which the shrike used regularly. Not sure even now that I'd reached the correct place despite casting around quite widely!! Little else was active in what, by then , was a quite warm afternoon, but the various Peacock butterflies throughout the wood were entertaining.
I pressed on and reached my overnight stop a little earlier than anticipated. I'd had to re-arrange my plans to visit the Forest of Bowland the following day and meet up with my old pals, Bill Murphy and Bill Hesketh, but we resolved to make sure the "meet" happened at a later date.
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