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Saturday, 4 June 2016

Burnham Overy Dunes!

I heard more bad news last night, which resulted in me going to bed at a ridiculous time – this has not been one of my best May holidays at all! Then to top it all my landline goes off at 7am, which is very unusual, so I rush downstairs to answer it and find I have missed the call and start listening to the answerphone message, to then hear my mobile going off upstairs! I rush back upstairs to answer phone and a Careline lady (my mother's emergency call bell in her house) says that my mother has pulled the call bell, but the lady can't get any reply on the tannoy system and do I want her to call an ambulance? I have a massive panic and explain about my mother's painful hip and that she probably can't get out of bed. The lady then asks me how far away I am and when I explain that I am half an hour+ away, she says do I want her to call an ambulance, so naturally I say yes please. Flying round house to get out of the door when I get a phone call back again from Careline, to say my mother had phoned them to apologise..... the call bell necklace had somehow fallen into her slipper, which she had put her foot into when she stepped out of bed!!!!!!! I phoned mother who thought it was quite amusing and 'don't know how that happened' etc! I was not amused! I'm looking forward to going back to work on Monday – it will be far less stressful, well hopefully anyway!

I cooked myself a proper meal at lunchtime instead of eating rubbish – I need a chef! Another dreary, grey day until the sun finally decided to show its face around mid-afternoon and about time too after the week of atrocious weather we've had!

I decided to go birding at Burnham Overy Dunes. My last walk here was impressively almost dog crap free, along the hedge-lined track, but today sadly was a different story altogether. A Whitethroat was singing in the hedge along with several Goldfinches – Grey Partridges x 3 on the marsh and a Common Tern flew over the path. Both Reed and Sedge Warbler were singing in the reeds by the second 5-bar gate and then I got excited when I thought I could hear snatches of song from a Marsh Warbler – something was sneaking around in the dense big hawthorn, but I could not see it and it did not reveal itself at all and then the singing stopped completely – I waited for a good half an hour and with neither sight nor sound, I gave up.

It was high tide and the marshes were flooded west of the sea wall – it all looked so beautiful in the very welcome sunshine. Lots of Egyptian Geese on the marsh along with Grey Lag Geese, Lapwings and Redshanks. A Marsh Harrier was seen distantly over the reed beds and a Little Egret and Carron Crow flew west. A Little Tern also flew west over the path which was lovely to see – I love their flight pattern, so dainty and light. Also saw a few Reed Buntings perched up on hawthorns and singing. At the bushes and scrub at the end of the boardwalk I had wonderful views of a Spotted Flycatcher sitting high up in the apple tree – but it disappeared quickly. There was huge numbers of Linnets and Meadow Pipits around.

A Spoonbill headed east at 6.45pm as I headed east through the dunes. I found a Chiffchaff in the gully of bushes just east of the descending slope of dunes and a male Stonechat was perched on bushes south of here, beyond the barbed wire fence. There were millions upon millions of the Diamondback Moths – every step I took, scattered them like flies – all through the dunes and also saw at least three Painted Lady butterflies. A Sparrowhawk flew over, but nothing else really of note in the dunes. I didn't quite make it to the west side of the pines as the daylight was disappearing fast. Natterjack Toads could be heard in several places and two Avocets flew west. Swifts, Swallows and Sand Martins were in good numbers as I walked back along the sea wall and a Little Egret was feeding by the sluice, close to the path. I had good views of a Marsh Harrier just before I reached my car. It would have been nice to add to the list of Red-backed Shrikes on offer today in Norfolk, but sadly not lucky in finding one myself. Still, it was a fabulous walk, with a good selection of birds seen in beautiful light.

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