A diary of my birding activity covering highlights and photos from my birding adventures. Mainly Norfolk (UK), occasionally beyond. I might mention the odd thing that isn't avian, but for moth and other insect news check out my mothing diary.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Ring Ouzels at last

Had the day off on Wednesday so after emptying the moth trap at dawn (while listening to the Cuckoo again) I headed up to Burnham Overy.  Much enjoyed the walk out to the dunes, seeing or hearing 70 species by the time I reached the boardwalk bushes.  The first of those was a Common Sandpiper which I nearly ran over as I drove in to the staithe car park.

Common Sandpiper, Burnham Overy, 4th May

The first of 5 Whimbrel were soon added to the tally, and this Barn Owl.  They always look whiter at this time of year - presumably due to worn plumage prior to their next moult.

Barn Owl, Burnham Overy, 4th May

Grey Plovers, Burnham Overy, 4th May

Whitethroat, Burnham Overy, 4th May

The dykeside bushes held a Willow Warbler and before long a second Willow Warbler was seen in the sueada, with a third bird in the bushes when I arrived at the boardwalk.  Signs of a small fall of migrants, I hoped, but after a fourth Willow Warbler the other side of Gun Hill there were no more.

Willow Warbler, Burnham Overy, 4th May

Curiously this bird, the one at the boardwalk, showed many similarities to a Phyllosc that Mike Buckland photographed in the same spot yesterday.  A lot of the detail around head pattern etc. is matched remarkably precisely.  Mike's bird was apparently a strong candidate for Iberian Chiffchaff and when I saw his photos yesterday I was struck how alike it was, in some of the images, to the bird I'd seen - and I feared that I'd stuffed up badly in passing it off as a Willow Warbler.  But checking both sets of photos when I got home one of his looked more Chiffchaff-like than mine ever looked and another showed dark legs.  The legs aren't well shown in any of my images, but just well enough to reassure me that it must be a different bird (and they looked pale in the field too), and in any case surely my bird's wings are too long even for an Iberian Chiffy.  But really weird how so much small detail matches between the two birds.

Lots of Little Terns have arrived since the weekend - I counted about 30 on one scan but no doubt there were a lot more than that in the area.

Little Terns, Burnham Overy, 4th May

Common Tern, Burnham Overy, 4th May

There were a few Yellow Wagtails moving west, though not so many as last time and I heard a single Tree Pipit fly west.  Finches included a Brambling west and at least one Redpoll.  The most obvious birds moving through were corvids with 38 Carrion Crows noticed and 5 Jackdaws.

There were about 20 Wheatears present in various places and a single Whinchat - not the same bird I'd seen on Monday.  Having missed them on my last 2-3 visits (despite them being present) I was glad to see 2 Ring Ouzels this time.

Wheatear, Burnham Overy, 4th May

Whinchat, Burnham Overy, 4th May

Ring Ouzel, Burnham Overy, 4th May

This Cuckoo was also calling away in the dunes all morning, with presumably a different bird nearer the road on my arrival.

Cuckoo, Burnham Overy, 4th May

Other birds worthy of note were 1-2 Greenshanks in the channel, at least one Red Kite and a Spoonbill over.  From the sea wall I saw another large white bird drop in to the heronry at Holkham - it was hard to see what it was with all the heat haze but in the end I was sure it was the Great White Egret and not just another Spoonbill.

On Thursday I was working from home - shame I wasn't birding as this was the best day of the spring I think.  Lots of summer migrants arrived today and that was apparent even at home where at least 15 Swifts screamed around and next door's Swallow finally returned (singing its heart out just outside my study window all day).

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