When the A11 spat me out onto the adjacent meandering countryside lanes, I had a feeling it wasn't going to be my day. The week before had seen a decent fall of migrants along the North Norfolk coast swept in by some active weather systems out across the near continent. The east winds of autumn is what the spiritual birder points to the heavens for, arms aloft in reverence to the ornithological deities, prayerfully sending up requests that a nice slection of eastern vagrants would be our portion. My atheistic tendencies frankly do not subscribe to the religiosity of the birding gods.
Nature steers its own path, of course I was praying like mad.
So after a frustrating journey northwards bewitched by the uniformity of the Cambridgeshire countryside, I arrived at Warham Greens. An Isabelline Shrike had been present here for around three days, but starting the walk toward the marsh, the gods were speaking to me. What I mean is I could tell that there was nothing to be found here.
Of course that wasn't true.
A couple of Brambling in a hedge among a large flock of finches and buntings is nothing to complain about. Neither was the Red Kite that flew low over the back fields nor the Merlin that hunted in haste low over the freshmarsh. The sole Pink-Footed Goose in an adjacent field looked a little bemused, and the four Marsh Harrier quartering distantly definitely deserves a mention. At least ten Goldcrest darting around an old oak shouldn't be ignored, the 22 overflying Golden Plover would attract derision if omitted, and how could I fail to document the sighting of a Rough-Legged Buzzard that flew low over Stiffkey. Brief joy, among the relative disappointment.
So onto Holkham Pines in search of my next monumentous dip. I've never seen a Pallas's Warbler, and as I write, I still haven't seen one. The main act was present, in fact I was only five metres away from this little gem, but such distances equate to light years when you're so close and yet so far.
The supporting cast was ok though, two to three Yellow-Browed Warbler showed well as they passed through the sallows associating with the flock of titmice, as did two gaudy Firecrest that boldly skitted around a now naked birch tree bereft of foliage. Three Common Buzzard sallied on a light breeze over the marsh.
No rares, but with faith restored, this is still my Jerusalem.