American Cliff Swallow shenanigans, Minsmere, Suffolk, 5 November 2016

Remember remember the 5th of November - I won't be forgetting this one in a hurry!

News of the American Cliff Swallow broke at c16.00 yesterday and reports that it may have gone to roost near Bittern Hide at Minsmere meant only one thing - a pre-dawn vigil on the Suffolk coast.

With the first glimmers of light we positioned ourselves outside West Hide and within about 20 mins we'd got the shout that it was over the North Wall with Swallows. Cue and wheezy panicky run! As we reached the area near the Sand Martin colony cliffs by the visitor centre a small group of hirundines appeared above our heads and bingo - the American Cliff Swallow was amongst them. After a couple of reasonable views the group moved off over the scrapes and went missing for a while. Luckily they were back within about 30 minutes and went on to show superbly around the pastures on the north side of the North Wall. The flock of 7 Barn Swallows and the star bird spent some time sat in hawthorn bushes which is something I thought I'd never see.

Into the bargain a Great White Egret flew over near West Hide, 5 Bewick's Swans south over the North Wall and several small groups of Siskins were also on the move.

Breakfast in the Lighthouse Cafe in Lowie followed then a drive through the lanes to Limpenhoe. Initially the juvenile Rose-coloured Starling was 'lost' but the owners of The White House there kindly allowed us into their garden and Jus found it within minutes once we went around the back of the house. Several Fieldfares were chakking about plus a single Redwing, a distant flock of Pink-footed Geese got up and a male Marsh Harrier was over the marshes.

I parted company with Jus and Andy at this stage and decided to head to Carlton Colville where a little patience was rewarded with 2 Waxwings on Rectory Lane.

I finished the day at Kessingland North Beach where a Woodcock flew 'in-off' and a Common Buzzard flew through but there wasn't much else about.

The autumn is going out with a bang and another WP and UK tick! 

 American Cliff Swallow (excuse the poor phone scoping attempt!)
The twitch at Minsmere

Rose-coloured Starling, Limpenhoe

Waxwing, Carlton Colville

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