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Tuesday 24 August 2021

Burnham Overy Dunes, Garden Drove, Stiffkey Campsite & Gramborough Hill!


I arrived at the layby for Burnham Overy Dunes at around 8.30am. It was overcast and I was hoping to see some good birds. I  had been thinking about walking Blakeney Point, but my hunch was that yesterday's birds would have all departed – sadly, I discovered during the rest of the day, that I was totally wrong! In any case I didn't feel like shingle trudging today. Also, I woke up a couple of days ago with severe Achilles tendon pain, in my long term dodgy left ankle (sprained it when I was 9 and pulled ligaments no end of times) – I have no idea what triggered it, must be old age I expect! Its certainly not being overweight, as the diet is going pretty well. Lost 4lbs last week and 3lbs the week before.

I had a wonderful time at Burnham Overy Dunes, but sadly didn't see too much at all. I worked hard to find some good birds and failed. Bird of the day was a cracking Willow Warbler that I eventually eked out of a hawthorn in the main scrub, at the end of the boardwalk and got some very pleasing pictures. Far too many people and loose dogs around for a bog standard Monday – goodness knows what it was like at the weekend! Headed west to Gun Hill, where a family of Stonechats were lovely to watch. Big flock of Linnets on the move, Goldfinches seen and lots of Swallows skimming west over the harbour. Managed to find a Whitethroat, but little else. Sadly no sign of Ashley Saunders' Greenish Warbler he found yesterday, which I expected – it probably ended up on Scolt Head Island. Walked to the most westerly point to the beach, but nothing else of note. Pager messages kept popping up for goodies on Blakeney Point! Sat and had an egg sandwich and coffee on my fold up stool, overlooking the main scrub, nothing else seen.

Retraced my steps and walked back to the end of the boardwalk and then east through the dunes. Had a brief view of a Redstart flying into a bush, that a few other birders had been watching, in the big hollow area of the dunes. I was told a Pied Flycatcher was showing well a bit further along – no it wasn't, not for me anyhow! Spent ages walking round the scrub where the Pied Flycatcher had been seen – gone! More Stonechats seen, a Whitethroat, but nothing more. I did see a Common Lizard scurrying through the mass of wild sweet pea, which was nice and good numbers of Wall butterflies, Common Blues, a Brimstone and Small Coppers seen. Walked back to my car. Hordes of people walking along the sea wall – dogs off leads, and lots of cyclists – I didn't think people were allowed to cycle along the sea wall because of erosion, but I may be wrong. It was boiling hot now. Returned to my car.

Headed east and parked up at the concrete pad to walk Garden Drove at Warham Greens. This is normally a wonderful peaceful spot to get away from the crowds, but the pigs have been relocated, immediately north of the parking area and the noise of grunting, squealing and jostling deafened the usual peace! It was also very smelly, whilst trying to enjoy a very late lunch! Walked along the hedge lined track and found absolutely nothing, apart from a Sparrowhawk overhead. No sign of the Pied Flycatcher in the copse that was reported earlier. Returned to my car and left.

Parked up at Stiffkey Campsite car park to walk west along the path to the Whirligig to see the Wrynecks that were reported this morning. There had been no further reports, so I presumed they maybe still there. I then found out that people had searched for them two or three hours earlier, with no joy, but nobody had put that update out. I continued to walk along the path anyway to have a look. Walked beyond the Whirligig and sneaked about to try and find the Wrynecks, but they had obviously long gone. Didn't see anything else of note. Returned to my car.

Stopped briefly at the House on The Hill at Blakeney, only Wood Pigeons here. Continued east to Gramborough Hill at Salthouse. A Red-backed Shrike had been found here earlier. Did I see it? No, I didn't! Very elusive, or vacated! To be fair, it could have retired for the night, it was 8pm when I retraced my steps back to the car! Several campervans parked up for the night, as is usual nowadays. Beautiful sunset as always here. Drove home and was too tired to write the blog up.


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