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Sunday, 28 August 2016

Burnham Overy Dunes, Gun Hill & West!

A wonderful afternoon spent searching for migrants at Burnham Overy Dunes and Gun Hill, although nothing rare found. Swallows flying west throughout the afternoon, notably more so late in the day, 2 Golden Plover west, Curlews, Egyptian Geese, Greylags, Canada Geese, Starling flocks, Meadow Pipits, flock of 50+ Linnets.

There were no birds at all in the apple tree and scrub at the end of the boardwalk, which was a huge disappointment, but lovely views of a Common Lizard lounging on privet stems, found by Andrew Bloomfield whilst we were chatting. This is only the second time I have witnessed a lizard sitting in a bush, the last time was one I photographed sitting in a bramble at Holme Bird Observatory six years ago.

I headed west – Gun Hill produced more, with 3 Willow Warblers and 2 Wheatears in the large area of scrub just before the hill and a large flock of Linnets. At the bushes/scrub on the seaward side of the hill I saw a Whinchat and a pair of Stonechats with more Linnets. A young couple who were wearing impractical shoes, walked towards me and asked how to get to the beach!!! I politely said 'if you go further over there, you should be able to cross in the clearing' I said, pointing west. The beach was directly behind us, but this mean't walking past brambles and dense marram clumps – its the countryside! I then walked past the brambles and marram and stood on the beach to identify a very large flock of small waders standing on the white sands – I counted 172 Ringed Plovers, 93 Sanderlings and 104 Dunlin!!! This was without a doubt, the highlight of the day. I couldn't believe how many Ringed Plovers were there! They didn't seemed bothered at all by the boats and noisy people sailing up and down the channel between them and Scolt Head Island. It really was a spectacle watching these birds dozing, preening and running around on the shell covered beach, in glorious sunshine.

I walked back to the end of the boardwalk and watched hundreds of Common and Black-headed Gulls swirling round in the skies catching flying ants. I sat by the apple tree, but still no birds popped out of the foliage. Heading back along the sea wall, I watched 3 Spoonbills fly overhead east at 6.15pm and 1 Spoonbill was asleep on the large pool. Black skies and threatening rain, speeded up my walk back to my car!

Stopped at Titchwell RSPB and sat in my car in the far car park to watch for any migrants that may appear in the scrub, but nothing seen at all. Watched the sun set at Thornham Harbour and then visited my Mother for a very short while before heading home. Work tomorrow!

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