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+ha+ had been seen on a pond five days, earlier, and though we checked every pond
on the Island, it was to no avail.
The CBC was held on Sa+urday, Dec. 29, and there are four things that we will never
forget about that Count. I) We found 550 Ye 11ow-rumped warblers; 2) We observed
48 feral mute swans In two hours; 3) We found another lifer, an adult Lesser
Black-backed Gull; 4) We saw over 55,000 Oldsquaws flying by the west end of the
island from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. This Is an event that occurs each afternoon in the
winter. At the countdown we learned that some good birds had been seen at the eastern end of the island.
So the next morning we drove out to the beach area at Slasconset and observed Red-
throated and Common Loons, Red-necked Grebes, and a very rare bird for the island,
a Western Grebe. In addition, there were the usual large gulls, Black Kittiwakes,
Bonaparte's and ano+her Little Gull, 2 Razorbills, and another lifer, the Black
Guillemot, a bird that is far more white than black in his winter plumage.
We then had to take the ferry back to Hyannls, where were joined by six of the
young birders that had been on the Christmas Count with us. As we left the harbor,
one of them shouted "King Eider". Looking carefully at the bird, we found it looked
a great deal like a young or female Common Eider, but its bill was shorter, the
front of the head was more vertIde than a Common Elder and the head was more chocolate. This was an immature bird and the other birders told us that mature adults
were seldom seen on Nantucket.
They also told us that the European Wigeon had re-appeared at Niles Pond. So we
wenf back up to Gloucester and drove around Niles Pond and looked, and looked, and
looked. We were joined by five carloads of local birders, but again none of us
were able to find him. We did see an Immature Iceland Gull sitting on the rocks
of the shore across the pond. This was the end of our trip and we sti11 have yet
to see the European Wigeon.
WITH BESSIE CORNELIUS IN SCOTLAND AND ENGLAND, Conclusion
While at Cley-next-the-sea, after an early-morning check of the marshes there was a
different place to go each day. We spent one day at the well-wooded Sandringham
Estate, summer home of the Queen. Sandringham Park ts open to the public but there
is an admission charge. It has a high population of warblers, tits, woodpeckers,
tree creepers and nuthatches. The Green Woodpecker can be found there although difficult to loca+e. On our way to Sandringham, while having lunch from the boot, we
loca+ed some Egyp+Ian Geese, a desired bird. The narrow winding roads +o +he Queen's
Sandringham Es+a+e were appropriately bordered In delicate white Queen Anne's Lace.
Another day was spent near Sparham Pools, another Norfolk Trust sanctuary for the
nesting Little Ringed Plover. It was nof permitted, nor did we want, to approach
the nesting site very closely so here again a good scope came in quite handy. That
evening, upon arriving at Flanders and quite ready for dinner, we learned the hot
line had been trying to locate us alI day to tell of the sighting of a Red-rumped
Swallow, a rare migrant to the Norfolk coast, at Holme Nature Reserve. It was some
40 miles but forgetting dinner we immediately started out and arrived at Holme as
qulc^y as the narrow roads would allow. We had been eagerly expecting another
lifer alI along the journey but even before getting ou+ of the car we knew we had
"dipped out". The dejected look on the Warden's face told the story....too late.
However, this was a new sanctuary and a lovely coastline and we were glad to see it.
The Brttish say if you find the bird you have "dipped tn" but If you don't you "dip
out". Also they say a birder who jumps from one rare bird to another and sits
nervously waiting for a telephone call about one is a "Twitcher".
On our next day's trip we definitely "dipped tn". The Eurasian Stone-Curlew is
among The rarest breeding birds In Britain but with luck they can be seen at the
Weetiing Heath National Nature Reserve about 150 miles round trip from Cley. Other
birds to be found at or near the Reserve include the Red-legged Partridge, Wheatear,
Mistl.e Thrush, Skylark, Coal Tit and Goldcrest. This country was known as the
Brok:en Land, (or now Breckland), broken by the plow. Before reaching Weeting we explored a poplar forest (where matchwood Is made) and there found the rather scarce
Golden Orioles, as well as the Marsh Harrier and Kestrel. Another place of Interest,
not far from Weeting, was Grimes Graves. When man hunted with arrows, one of the
Neolithic flint mines was worked here and early man engaged in fIInt-knapplng; +hey
used +he antlers from the Roe Deer and made skinny knives and arrow heads from the
flint. FtInt-knapplng has almost become a lost art.