Thursday, 2 December 2010

Norfolk - Burnham Overy Marshes.

Our last full day in Norfolk started from the large hamlet and creek side harbour at Burnham Overy Staithe.
Between Burnham Overy Staithe and the sea, the River Burn spreads out into multiple tidal creeks through the salt marshes. To the east of the creek, the former salt marshes between dry land and the sand dunes have been reclaimed to form fresh water meadows, part of the Holkham estate.
Our leisurely stroll followed the one and a half mile (2 km) long embankment footpath that links Burnham Overy Staithe to the sand-dunes and beach. The elevated pathway provided excellent all round vistas but as high tide was some hours away our initial sightings (Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Lapwing, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Dunlin, Little Egret, Brent Geese, Pintail, Shelduck, Shoveller, Teal, and Wigeon were very distant but every now and again something appeared relatively close by.  
House Sparrow.
Reed Bunting (female).
Brent Geese on the move to find somewhere to feed.

We also monitored small flocks of Pink-footed Geese lifting off from the marshes and heading further inland and 3 high flying Swans turned out to be Whoopers. I located a very distant wader feeding and looking very much like a Phalarope but it was actually only a Spotted Redshank. The next bit of excitement was a single pale looking Buzzard heading NW towards the sea. Whilst high above us I took a few chance shots before really thinking about possible ID and a few minutes later we had similar views of another pair heading in the same direction.
We were shortly joined by a couple of experienced local birders who confirmed our sighting of  Rough-legged Buzzard (2 adults and 1 juvenile). If I had used the bins before pointing the camera, the overall pale head, pale underwing with the very prominent dark carpels plus its dark belly patch would have been a clear and earlier clue to its identity.
Nearly at the sand dunes ( close to where Anita and I joined our very first 'twitch' for a Sardinian Warbler many moons ago) we found 7 Barnacle Geese feeding with a flock of Brent; hundreds of Golden Plover hiding in the grass plus mixed flocks of finches including Goldfinch, Linnet and possibly Twite.
Scans along the beach and sea produced Sanderling, Great Crested and Slavonian Grebes, Oystercatcher, Cormorant and Common Scoter.
 The return journey was less fruitful as the sea water invaded the creek and covered the extensive mudflats.
A few waders still lingered on the mud including this Grey Plover.

Our return to the vehicles some hours later was greeted by a very vocal Black-headed Gull and a totally different view of the creek with most of the boats now fully afloat.  With a tally of 50 species seen I'll definitely add this walk to our itinerary when we next visit the Norfolk coast.    FAB.


  1. Wonderful bird images - terrific scenery - what a nice and productive outing you had!

  2. Hi Frank ...beautiful contrast of the water,sand, and the colors of the marsh!!
    The boats at low tide and all the birds..great photo!!

  3. I so enjoyed this walk with you. Great images!

  4. Really enjoyed the shots of the Rough-legged Buzzard. He's quite striking. Sounds like a wonderful time...and a lot of birds!

  5. Great shots Frank, and some cracking birds. Rough-legged Buzzard; not envious one bit lol Nice one mate!

  6. Nice capture with the RL Buzzard Frank, bet those scenes don't look quite like that at the moment though.

  7. Enjoyed your report of the walk describing what's probably my favorite type of landscape (other than the green mountains of Vermont) Nice photos of the buzzard. You often have to make a choice between using your bins or getting a photo because you don't have that much time. Beautiful shot of the Black-headed Gull!

  8. Excellent Frank... This is a beautiful post with superb pictures, and yes you should definitively go back there....

  9. A most enjoyable post with lovely pictures Frank and very nice to see Anita enjoying herself too :)

    What a good day you had with lots of good sightings to round your holiday off and very well done on the Rough-legged Buzzard!

    I love the photo of the Black-headed Gull, what a vocal lot they are, your photo shows that beautifully.

  10. I love this post. The diversity of the scenes and the birds. I love the colors of the boat sitting at the bottom of the creek when the tide was out. I would love to take this walk if ever in England.
    Sorry to hear about your brother.

  11. This was a wonderful post, Frank with lots of wonderful imagery and a story too. Good to see you are out and about after the sadder post.

  12. Great walk Frank and thanks for sharing it with us, and you images make so much more interesting.
    For me the Rough-Legged Buzzards were the stars having only ever seen one down here in Cornwall.

  13. Beautiful collages Frank! Looks a lovely walk, certainly one to explore again!
    Good distractions after recent events & much needed, I'm sure.
    Take care!

  14. Great outing. I guess you don't want to get caught out at sea when the tide is going out. You may not get home! Thanks for the work you put into this post.

  15. Beautiful images! loved the close up of that animated gull! The first photos of the boats reminded me of a Monet painting. Looks like a fabulous trip!!

  16. Hi Everyone.

    The Norfolk trip had many enjoyable moments and as always it is a delight to share them with you.

    The weather ... snow and now freezing fog plus preparations for the 'final goodbye' has kept me away from any wildlife watching but I hope to find something to share very soon. Cheers FAB.

  17. Some really great shots of the scenery and the birds too - love the shot of the Barn Owl on the main blog site - sheltering in the hole in the tree - you were lucky to spot this one! Hope you're not snowed in where you are.. Miranda

  18. Hi Miranda.
    Thanks. Any sighting of a Barn Owl is very special and more so when one can capture a decent image.
    The first batch of snow has mostly disappeared but now the problem is freezing fog while we wait for the next snow storm! Cheers Frank.

  19. It certainly is... I remember one fabulous moment - I'll keep the story brief but was out searching for a set of keys which I thought I'd dropped on a walk - with only about 20mins of light left - when in the distance spotted the familiar sight of a Barn Owl on a fence post - it was amazing when it took off and flew within a metre of my head -it turned it's head towards me and squawked - and then flew on - only when I returned home did I find the keys but I wouldn't have missed that moment for anything!

  20. Definitely a magical moment to savour Miranda. FAB.

  21. HI FAB -just read the top 3 posts, and must say two things - your photos continue to inspire and are wonderful!! and I'm very sorry for your loss -your tribute to your brother is very loving.


I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.


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