Saturday, November 5, 2016

Sand and wax

Had a highly enjoyable day out with Robin at Burnham Overy Dunes. Leaving home early and listening to the skies, and then driving north at night, it was evident that a massive fall of 'Continental' Blackbirds had happened. Big numbers along the country roads heading to BOD, and then at dawn huge numbers flying in off, and in every bush and tree. I must have seen more than 1500 Blackbirds today.

Robin's main aim was to photograph the long-staying Isabelline Wheatear I was lucky to be part of tits finding team. I tagged along and joined Robin for the first hour or so after dawn. When I was there the sandy vagrant was rather timid, surprising after being exposed to so many humans, and fed with mealworms, for almost two weeks now. It did keep its distance from us - when walking it would flush from 30-40 m. When we lay down and waited patiently it did eventually come somewhat closer but didn't really give itself up. I guess Robin's shots are better than mine - he had more success after I had left. Check his website.

 Isabelline Wheatear

After about an hour of laying on our bellies in the sand, my aching shoulder ordered me to leave Robin and start moving. I walked the dunes and down Holkham Pines for several hours. Apart for Blackbirds everywhere there were smaller numbers of Redwing, Fieldfare and Song Thrush. I had two flyover Waxwings and a flyover Lapland Bunting. There were some Crossbills in the pines, a few mobile redpoll that were probably Mealy's, some Woodcock and a few other bits and pieces, but nothing too exciting.

On the way out we spent a few minutes with the geese in the nearby field - pretty Icelandic things:

Pink-footed Geese

The sun even came out for a few seconds:

Hrot! Hrot!

Then we searched for waxwings that were seen in the Staithe. We located four punks - mostly distant and concealed, but they did a brief Hawthorn detour nearby:

Still not satisfied with my waxwing encounters - hope this winter delivers more:

I did challenge myself to see as many species as possible in the few hours of birding I had. Checked ducks, shorebirds etc. as best as I could with my bins only, still had 94 species - not too shabby.

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