Monday, 24 October 2016

Isabelline & Desert Wheatear, Burnham Overy

The day after returning from twitching the first mainland record of Siberian Accentor at Easington in East Yorkshire, an Isabelline Wheatear was found just a couple of miles away near the Easington boatyard!
As luck would have it another Isabelline was found five days later at Burnham Overy in Norfolk. Being 90 miles nearer to home this looked much more appealing. Having left at 5.30am we arrived on site shortly before 8am. Taking the footpath towards the sea wall news broke that the Isabelline was still present 400m West of the boardwalk at Gun Hill. On route, we found a Northern Wheatear close to the seawall and took this as a good sign.Unfortunately, as we arrived the Isabelline had been lost to view! After joining the other birders in scanning the dunes and surrounding bushes the bird was soon found happily feeding among the short cropped grass.

Isabelline Wheatear

Having watched it for nearly an hour flying back and forth between the dunes and short grass it flew up the bank towards the horizon and was lost to view.
We took this as a sign to head on towards the Western end of Gun Hill in search of the Desert Wheatear, but as we were about to set off, a Radde's Warbler appeared at the top of the dunes. It sat out long enough to get the scope on it for dad to see his second lifer of the morning!
At the Western end we joined a small group of birders trying to locate the Desert Wheatear, it seemed to favour an old log at the bottom of the dunes, but would frequently fly up and investigate rabbit burrows. As we scanned the dunes and surrounding beach a second Wheatear appeared at the far Eastern edge of the dunes. Tail patterns and shape in flight confirming we had a Desert and an Isabelline! 

     A) Isabelline                   B) Northern                C) Desert   

Desert Wheatear

Before leaving for home we had a brief stop at Burnham Norton in search of two reported Waxwings. We met the finder in the car park. but the walk out to the sluice and subsequent search proved unsuccessful. 

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