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NORTH NORFOLK: Rain in Cromer? What a surprise.

26th August 2011

After a couple of days of rainy weather I headed to Cromer on the train to try to catch up with the Greenish Warbler at Warren Woods. I walked through Link Woods on the way, and found a couple of birders looking into a Holm Oak across the playing field from Warren Woods. One of them thought he had seen the Greenish in it a minute before, so I spent a while staking out the tree and nearby scrub, seeing a couple of Nuthatches, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Coal Tit, before a Phylloscopus sp. flew out and into trees on the cliff-face. After another twenty minutes waiting to see if it would re-emerge I decided to have a look around the main woods.

By more luck than judgement I found myself almost beneath the Holm Oak that the Greenish Warbler had been seen in. Keeping still I was able to watch a number of small birds passing through the branches, including six Chiffchaffs. Several other birders came and asked if there had been any sign of the Greenish or Bonelli's recently, to which I replied no, only to find out that a large crowd around the other side of the hill had seen both 15 minutes after I had arrived. The curse of trying to locate birds away from the main group of birders I guess. I went round to join them, and heard the Greenish Warbler call on three occasions. On the first occasion a Phyllosc flew from the direction of the call into the oak, but was in no way "tickable" on those views. I stayed until 5.15 then left to get my train, a decision I was glad of when it started pouring with rain, even if the bird was seen briefly an hour or so later. On the bright side, hearing the call will hopefully help should I encounter a Greenish Warbler at some point down the line. During the afternoon a number of Swifts (max of 16) flew through.


  1. Sounds like a waste of a day

    Better off looking for yourself.

  2. Thank you for your comment.

    I wouldn't call it a waste of a day. If I took the view that any time I went out birding and didn't see a rare bird it was a waste I'd probably have to review my hobby.

    As for better off looking for myself, then yes I would get more satisfaction from finding something, but am much less likely to. Its a case of balancing out spending time looking and time seeing species I'm not familiar with. I do regularly watch a local patch, and over the autumn period I will spend some time at the coast trying to find my own birds. I will also twitch some stuff I haven't seen. I think I have a realistic opinion of my birding ability, and I make sure that I learn from my time in the field, be that from twitching, from speaking to more experienced birders or from days when I see nothing.

    All the best.