Monday, 25 February 2008

Boulogne Cliffs, Nord - pas de Calais, France

Ant, picked Dan and myself from my house Friday evening at 11, working our way to Dover via Woking to pick up Paul, filled the car nicely. Arriving at the dock well ahead of schedule allowed us to catch an earlier ferry over to Calais.
We had found the area in darkness, which meant we had time for a nap. At first light we began our search at the fort at low tide. At least an hour and a half had passed with no sign. And then a report from a couple who claimed flushing it from the fort when coming down the steps at 08:10 (GMT), bearing in mind it was now 09:45 that was some time again. I and a few others searched further on towards to the pillbox, until one of them recieved a text saying everyone was moving down towards the other end got me excited, unfortunately it was nothing.

So Dan hinted about searching the cliffs where i had just been, at this point it was just him and myself and the conversation went "I get the impression we are going to be running out of time, very soon", "I know, we're going to be getting desperate soon". "Wouldn't it be good if it would just appear on them rocks there!", just as Dan had finished his sentence, something caught my eye at the top of the cliff, sadly it was nothing and lowered my bins in disappointment. In doing so something else caught my eye, much lower down in the cliff. I didn't even need my bins to know exactly what it was. WE HAD IT!! the wintering Wallcreeper!! One of the finest birds this planet has to offer.

We watched it feeding low down on boulders at the bottom of the cliff, before the others made it over, when it started feeding further up, for half 'n hour we starred at the bird unaware of the tide. We soon had to dash as the tide was quickly coming up and about to cut us off.

I took over 550 shots of this stunner and it was only this one hear that was worth cropping, the distance was great, constantly moving and in dull light. Still - what a stunner! (c) Ashley Howe

After that, we eventually found a site where Black Woodpecker had been heard from, we spent the whole afternoon here, we split into pairs, keeping each other informed, Dan and myself found ourselves Reeve's Pheasant - mind you abit dodgy we feel, Crested Tit, and i had a presumed Short-toed Treecreeper. While Paul and Ant had more luck with Crested Tits, Short-toed Treecreepers and heard a Black Woodpecker.

A great twitch and my first abroad - with abit of luck one of many in the future, and what a way to start. A 25 hours twitch.


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