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Tuesday, 3 June 2014


Gun Hill, Burnham Overy Dunes – taken at 5.36am

After getting back late last night, blogging, putting pictures on net, it had got to a ridiculously late time. I had already decided that I was going back at dawn, for early morning light views and hopefully better pictures. There was one problem.... I had to be at work at 8.30am!!! I decided there wasn't enough time to get even a small amount of sleep, so didn't actually go to bed. Yes, I am officially insane!!! Left my house at 3.25am!

Arrived at Burnham Overy at 4am. There were three cars already parked up, having just arrived moments before me. I was questioning my sanity this morning, what the hell was I doing?! Crazy! Walked down the track with some birders from Stoke. I was expecting it to be freezing at this time of the morning, but it was in fact the opposite! Whitethroats singing along the track and Reed Buntings flitting about. One birder on site at Gun Hill before us, who had seen the Spectacled Warbler at 4.30am, just west of the main favoured area (sandy hollow). I tweeted this information out and also put on Birdforum to help birders waiting on news. We all saw the bird together at 4.45am in a bush fairly close, but before I got the camera out of the rucksack! It then flew into its favoured, sandy hollow area (where it was all last night) and remained here for most of the time whilst I was here. It was all pretty chilled this morning. There were less than 10 people here first thing and we all kept our distance, which is why my photos are just as rubbish as yesterday! Chris also here again, who I met last night. Fabulous to see the bird again and with less people around, although it really does sneak around! One minute its there, the next its melted into the undergrowth, but singing constantly to remind you that its still around! Gave up with the SLR at this distance and switched to my first phone-scoping attempts with my new kit and got a couple of nice little videos, which I will be loading onto youtube shortly.

Phone-scoped Video with iphone 5s and Kowa TSN-IP5 Photo Adapter

Phone-scoped Video with iphone 5s and Kowa TSN-IP5 Photo Adapter

At approximately 5.40am the bird started to move east and in fact flew just beyond Stuart White who was walking towards us – he would have had fabulous views! No one had moved, it had just flown that way. It seemed to disappear and a few birders including more now arriving headed in that direction (east of where we were standing) to try and relocate it. I decided to go and check out the good scrub area, seaward side of Gun Hill itself, just in case there were any other goodies lurking in the undergrowth. Nothing, apart from a wood pigeon perched on my 'roller' stump, as I'm calling it (which I dug in the ground a few months back). Walked back to the sandy hollow area, hoping that the Spectacled Warbler would return, whilst I was here alone, but it didn't! A couple of bright Linnets landed in the bushes briefly.
The time was ticking away and I really needed to start walking back at 7am ideally and 7.15am being the absolute latest! It was 7.07am when I started to walk back and had reached the low sueda area, just before the boardwalk where birders were looking into. I presumed that the bird had landed in here somewhere, but I had to carry on, I couldn't be late for work. Someone indicated to stop walking, so I did, but bird or not I had to get to work. In the few moments I stood here, I couldn't believe what happened – suddenly I saw glimmers of the bird moving through the sueda and then, there it was in full view on a sueda branch, directly in front of me, my closest view yet – it would have made a frame filling shot. Quick as lightening, I had the camera on the bird, finger on shutter, start to press button, bird shoots off, my heart sinks. It would have been my dream shot, mortified to say the least. There was a particularly noisy birder behind me, amongst the crowd, so I am going to blame him entirely!!! It was now 7.15pm and there was no messing now, speed walked back to my car. The bird had become very mobile just before I left (of its own accord) but people did start to 'follow the bird' which obviously wouldn't have helped matters. Bundled everything in car and left. Walked into the office at 8.30am, having just had time to change into uniform and look presentable! Phew!

I really don't know how I got through work today, I was praying for the end!!! I remained professional though and did a pretty good act of looking alert and awake, well I hope so anyway! In normal circumstances, I would have gone to Cley to see/listen to the Blyth's Reed Warbler and hope to bump into the Black Stork, but I was beyond exhausted!

Nice pictures from Chris Thornton HERE

Finders Account HERE!



  1. Thanks Chris! Nice to meet you too. It certainly was an adventure and yes the lack of sleep over 48 hours caught up with me! In normal circumstances, I would have been nipping up to Cley to see/hear the Blyth's, but I wouldn't have been safe to drive! Still shattered this evening, takes longer to recover from being up for 48 hours when you are not 18 anymore!!! Hope to see you around Norfolk again, here's to the next mega!

    1. I don't know why my name on Google is so formal - I only get called Christopher when I'm in trouble with my Mother! Hate the full version, Chris is just fine.
      Anyway, well done once again for getting some great footage - I saw some more on You Tube but it wasn't as clear as yours.
      Try and get refreshed for next week 'cos you no you need to' ready fro dusk 'til dawn Birding again!

    2. Thanks Chris! I've found footage better than mine, but thanks! On holiday next week again, can't wait!

  2. Christopher Ward!!!
    Please could you send your 'comment' again, as I have stupidly gone and deleted it and now blogger won't let me re-publish it!!! Here it is:
    Penny, those video's you took came out really well, great job! It was a really great adventure with the Spectacled Warbler even if sleep did take a big back seat but hey, it was worth it!
    I really thought I'd see you had been to Cley last night hunting down the Blythes....guess your nocturnal antics caught up with you eventually.
    Really great to meet you in person and no doubt our paths will cross in Norfolk again very soon. Maybe that Mega that you find yourself, here's hoping anyway.
    Take care