A phone call from a very excited brother just before 8:00am brought news of a Hoopoe in North Walsham. He was driving to work, just yards from his home, when fortune favoured him and the exotic visitor flopped across the road only feet in front of his van before disappearing amongst the leafy properties of that part of town. I couldn't get over to look myself but I let a couple of town birders know about it, although as far as I know there was no further sign of it. Another was found at Sheringham early this afternoon, this one staying and showing for birders, although there is a slim chance that it is the same as the North Walsham bird. However, the current weather conditions are prime for encouraging birds such as Hoopoe, as well as Woodchat Shrike and Tawny Pipit, both of which have appeared in east Norfolk today, to arrive. With an extensive high pressure system stretching from North Africa and the western Mediterranean through the Iberian peninsula and across Europe northwards into southern Fennoscandia, we should be looking out for more southern overshooting vagrants in the coming days. It will be interesting to see what drops in with the forecasted passage of a cold front later on Thursday. With this in mind I was in the kitchen this evening in 'Raven pose' (hands in the sink, eyes constantly checking out of the window!) when a Heron appeared on a south-east to north-west heading and quite high. Optimistically running outside, I was slightly disappointed to see it was just a Grey, but any flyover Heron should be scrutinised in these conditions.
The paddocks this morning held two Redwings and a Garden Warbler was singing in the grounds of Laurel Lodge, perhaps the same bird I saw earlier in the week. Whitethroat numbers along the lane had apparently increased again and at one point no less than four males were arguing over territory in one bramble. A Swift later appeared three times over the garden, although there is the possibility that all sightings related to different passing individuals.
I enjoyed a chat on the phone with Keith this afternoon, a bit of an overdue catch up. He'd been birding in Happisburgh during the day and had seen three grounded Yellow Wagtails, two of which were of the Blue-headed nominate race flava. Three Wheatears were around for him too and he also saw a Marsh Harrier passing high to the north-west.