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Sunday, 23 October 2016

Isabelline Wheatear at Burnham Overy Dunes

At 9.03 I saw a tweet stating there was an Issy wheatear at BOD, 5 minutes later John rang to see if I wanted a lift. Forty minutes later, I joined John & Bob B and we picked up Tim H and set on our way. We didn't get to Burnham Overy Dunes until 12.30pm. sadly we saw 2 dead Roe Deer on the road. We walked out towards Gun Hill and the long walk revealed skein of Pink- footed Geese flying across. After 20 minutes walk we reached the board walk and 10 minutes later reached the site. The bird wasn't on view but when it hopped out into view on the top ridge partially obscured by grass. The general sandy plumage, upright stance, thick black bill, thick black legs, general sandy appearance and isolated alula feather clearly showed this was the excellent Isabelline Wheatear. Over the next hour, the bird seen around the grassy area occasionally flying and perching on top of bushes. Unfortunately two over zealous photographers, I know them both- one from Suffolk and one from Essex went over the ridge and got too close to the bird pushing it some distance away and it disappeared for half an hour, when it flew and disappeared. Meanwhile, we looked in the nearby bushes for Pallas' warblers couldn't see any. I was walking back when the Isabelline Wheatear seen again, it preached on bushes and then seen on a grassy ridge in full sunlight. A small olive- green sprite bird called, sounding suspiciously like a Pallas' Warbler and ex- BBRC man Peter Col, a top class birder, called it instantly as a Pallas' and we saw it fly (complete with yellow rump) in to the group of bushes to the left into a berry laden bush. sadly, it didn't reappear. Walking back, we looked on the dune ride over right and could see the poor unfortunate carcass of the dead Fin Whale on the beach, cordoned off with a load of people around 15 looking at it. We tried for the Shore Lark, but couldn't see it. Walking back along the path, we saw a group of around 60 Brents and John spotted a hybrid Black Brant, with full white neck collar joining at the front and large white flash on the flanks but crucially dark bands in the white a mid grey (not black) back. also on the other side of the path, were around 90 Pink- footed Geese plus 2 Barnacle Geese at the back. We stopped off at Walsey Hills, walking along a ditch, we went in a little way and heard the "takking" of the excellent Dusky Warbler, a shape was seen high in a bush moving about and "takking"that was all I was to see of the bird.

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