I collected to days clients from Burnham market and we then headed to Burnham Overy Staithe, as it was a Bank Holiday we started a little earlier and got ahead of the crowds. It was a beautiful blue sky affair with a light to moderate NE wind, as per a lot of April!
There was immediately skeins of wintering Dark-bellied Brents, still present and waiting for a change of wind direction and as we walked out we also fond several Pink-footed Geese still present. Good numbers warblers have now arrived, and Sedge warblers were singing away atop the reeds and bramble and there was a marked increase in the number of Reed Warbler singing as well. Out on the shallow pools there was still wintering Teal & Shoveler and the dykes offered up some scarce breeders Pochard, with Little Grebes for company. The shallow pools held waders with breeding Redshank and Lapwing, plus a few Snipe, let’s hope the improved habitat at Holkham encourages the latter to breed again in North Norfolk! The repeated call of a Whimbrel caught my attention and a nice group of 18 Whimbrel dropped on to the saltmarsh, allowing nice views. The Staithe also offered up nice views of 50+ Avocet, c20 Dunlin and several dapper black and white, Grey Plover, a real treat in their summer guise. My first Little Tern of the year appeared but was soon distantly out of the sea.
As we scanned the freshwater pools my attention was also drawn to some birds feeding along the inland hedgerow, initially a Mistle Thrush, then a Song Thrush, then a nice surprise 3 Ring Ouzels, although distant there was one male and his white crescent and silvery wings were clear through the scope.
As we approached the dunes a Spoonbill flew overhead, and 4 Red Kite were circling above the woodland. In the dunes we soon found our first Wheatear, probably a Greenland, a large bird, with rich orangy hues. In fact we stumbled over about 6 Wheatears in the dunes. The bushes held a few migrant Meadow Pipit, Chiff-chaff and Blackcap and a nice pair of Stonechat. Linnets and Skylarks flicked continuously in and out of view.
Marsh harriers were evident out over the marsh, and we had another Spoonbill fly past, as well as 2 Great White Egrets. There was a light passage of Swallows, plus a few House Martin and a Swift all passed by us heading West.
It was now getting busier and we returned to the minibus to have lunch, Mike told me he had recorded 65 species in our mornings birding.