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Sunday, 4 October 2015

Burnham Overy Dunes!

Goldcrest in scrub at end of boardwalk, Burnham Overy Dunes

I was very worried about working today, very worried indeed. Worried about a mega being found and not being able to get there in time. If something comes up on Blakeney Point after work, I've had it – 7pm is the deadline now, before darkness falls. I hate these evenings drawing in and don't even mention the clocks going back at the end of the month!!!

We managed to finish work at 3.45pm – I had already packed up the car with birding gear before I went to work this morning, so simply whizzed home, changed clothes and was out again on the road to walk Burnham Overy Dunes.

Parked the car up on the main road and was walking down the track by 5.15pm. It was still sunny, but you could feel the coldness in the air, hinting that the end of the day was not far off and only a small window of time left for finding birds!

A Barn Owl was quartering the field next to the main road, much to the enjoyment of a few people in the car parking area. Along the track a birder told me that a Yellow-browed Warbler was 'showing well' in the sueda just to the left of the path, adjacent to the main concentration of bushes at the end of the boardwalk. A party of Long-tailed Tits, Great and Blue Tits were following the hedge line that runs east of the path, just after the big oak tree. A Cetti's Warbler burst into tune briefly. 3 Little Egrets flew across the marsh, which held an unusually large flock of Egyptian Geese, along with a few Greylags and also some Pink-footed Geese. A massive Starling flock flew west over the path. I was very upset to see that the entire sea wall had been scalped – every plant and grass had been cut on both sides of the slope, the entire length – did that really have to be done now?!!! Nothing left for insects or butterflies to feed on, no grass heads or anything else for tired migrants to feed on or take cover in. It looked clinical and very unnecessary. If it had be 'managed' – why could this not have been cut later in the month?
Chiffchaff in scrub at end of boardwalk, Burnham Overy Dunes

I searched in vain for the 'showing well' Yellow-browed Warbler (yeah right!). There were several exciting little flickers, amongst the leaves of the famous little Apple Tree, which resulted in a couple of Goldcrests feeding as the light disappeared along with a Chiffchaff sitting in the bramble behind. I had a very brief sighting of the Yellow-browed Warbler as it shot round the corner of the bushes. With light fading rapidly – had I got time to walk east to the RBfly pit? Hmmmm......go for it! Speed walked along the path and down the big dune slope to the little hollow of bushes (a couple of hawthorns in front of here, was where Eddie M. found an Arctic Warbler not too many years ago). This sadly did not produce anything at all, so had to slog back up the dunes.

Back at the Apple Tree I managed to see a Wren and a Goldcrest still feeding. Time to go. Swathes of mist had enveloped the marshes and it looked looked like a eerie Halloween scene!!! As I climbed onto the boardwalk to head back, I turned round to scan the bushes one last time – a bird appeared, fluttering and flitting above the bushes catching flies (6.50pm). I could see a large white wing patch and could then see this was a Pied Flycatcher!!! So pleased to find this! I moved in closer to get a better look, just to check it didn't have a collar, but it had disappeared into the darkness of the bushes and I didn't see it any more. Now, if I wasn't at work tomorrow, I would return at dawn and check that out. If my Pied Fly turns out to be anything more, I will be gutted to say the least! Trudged back to my car in the mist. Jumped out of my skin when a Barn Owl took off from a post a few inches from me! Got back to my car at 7.30pm.
Sunset at Burnham Overy Dunes

Drove along the A149 to visit my parents at Holme. On route I had a good look for my Mother's glove that she dropped yesterday when cycling back from the farm shop, somewhere between the farm shop at Thornham and her house. Unbelievably I found it!!! I was driving along the road just after the shop at the slowest speed ever, when suddenly I could see this black thing on the edge of the road. Put the hazards on, quickly got out, picked it up, threw it in car and started driving – couldn't mess about as I was parked just after a bend. My mother was over the moon – she couldn't believe I had found it and said it was the best thing that had been found for her! It was a black leather glove – a pair she has had for a long time and loves. Father looked pleased at my find and clapped me! I felt massively guilty as my Father started to cry when I first arrived, he seemed so pleased to see me, like I hadn't been there for weeks (which I have). I explained I had been busy birding this weekend and work today etc. Chatted to my parents about the birds in Norfolk this weekend and discussed James's Blyth's Pipit – neither of which my parents have ever seen. Showed Mother my selfie video I took yesterday for the casting agency and shockingly (she normally criticises everything) she said it was good!!! Whilst we were watching the video, the cat decided to seek attention by strutting along the mantel piece, clearing most of the cards and other bits and pieces! Drove home late.


  1. "Jumped out of my skin when a Barn Owl took off from a post a few inches from me! "....
    As you walked on towards your car you would have heard that strange sound...
    a Barn Owl giggling!
    You'll not forget that in a hurry...

    And value that applause from your Dad...
    he clapped because you did..
    what he would have done a few years back...
    it was the sound of appreciation!!
    Your Dad has always, in my experience, been a gentle man!

  2. Thank you Tim, much appreciated.