A totally mega day on the North Norfolk Coast 17th October 2020

Eastern Rufous Bush Chat - a mega bird if not a mega photo!

The first full day of our Norfolk Houseparty for Two dawned very wet and we would have been forgiven for staying at home. But our lvoely guests Barry and Wendy are old hands at Norfolk birding and, like us, were keen to make the most of their time here. We donned our waterproofs and set off along the seawall from the house here in Burnham Overy Staithe. it was an exceptionally high tide, the whole of the saltmarsh flooded by the sea. Birds were everywhere. The skies were full of geese, ducks and waders zoomed across the flooded marshes and Marsh Harriers hunted the reedbeds and wet fields. A flock of gulls drew our attention to a large otter that was making its way across the marsh. What a fine animal to see so close to 'home'.

As we walked, luckily the rain eased off and we were able to enjoy even more birds with the better visibility. A flock of Bearded Tits clambered up in the reeds and gave some wonderful view. Beyond them a Great White Egret flapped across the fields and landed in dead tree as hundreds of Golden Plover swirled above our heads.

Then our plan for the day changed dramatically: news of a mega rarity just along the North Norfolk coast at Stiffkey! An Eastern Rufous Bush Chat had been seen on the edge of the saltmarsh not far from Stiffkey campsite. With only a tiny of number of previous UK records and none of these available to lots of birdwatchers, we knew this was going to be a very popular bird. So we scurried back to base, jumped in the car and headed for Stiffkey. We parked in the village, assuming that the narrow lane down to the saltmarsh would be chocka with cars already and walked swiftly to the saltmarsh. Ahead of us, we could see a line of birdwatchers standing staring at a patch of sueda bushes. We slipped and slithered our way along the muddy path to join the other observers. Our friend Trevor Girling was in the group and he kindly gave us good directions to where the bird had last been seen.

Luckily we didn't have to wait long before this rufous-tailed rarity flew a short distance over the bushes and then dived out of sight. Phew! We had all got a glimpse at least of this incredible bird. Two more flight views followed before the Eastern Rufous Bush Chat landed in full view on a dead stick right out in the open and we all enjoyed superb views through the Leica telescopes. We even managed to obtain a few grainy record shots with our bridge camera to remind us of this totally mega sighting. What a thrilling encounter to enjoy of the first full day of our Houseparty for Two! Birders were constantly arriving, and good to report that everyone was very considerate keeping a reasonable distance apart, and where this wasn't possible, everyone was wearing face coverings, although a few people did fall victim to the very slippery conditions and at least two ended up in the muddy creek nearby!

Pallas's Warbler made a superb addition to our daylist at Stiffkey!

As we headed back towards the car we were very lucky to have a wonderful encounter with a stunningly beautiful Pallas's Warbler at the east end of the Campsite Wood at Stiffkey. This tiny gem of a rarity had come all the way from Siberia to end up here on the North Norfolk coast. We then headed into Stiffkey for celebratory hot drinks and delicious cakes - what better way to celebrate fantastic birds!

After our refreshments we headed to North Point, a small wetland near Wells-next-the-Sea and timed our arrival perfectly as our friend John Gregory had literally just found a Barred Warbler in the hedge bordering the wetland. We enjoyed wonderful prolonged views of this chunky grey warbler in the sunshine. We finished off this wonderful day back at base in Burnham Overy Staithe watching a beautiful ring-tail Hen Harrier quartering the marshes, seen from our balcony in the evening sunshine while enjoying a cup of tea. Life doesn't get much better than this!

Contact us

* * *



Our Tweets

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. See our Cookie Policy for further details on how to block cookies.
I am happy with this


What is a Cookie

A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, is a piece of data stored by a website within a browser, and then subsequently sent back to the same website by the browser. Cookies were designed to be a reliable mechanism for websites to remember things that a browser had done there in the past, which can include having clicked particular buttons, logging in, or having read pages on that site months or years ago.

NOTE : It does not know who you are or look at any of your personal files on your computer.

Why we use them

When we provide services, we want to make them easy, useful and reliable. Where services are delivered on the internet, this sometimes involves placing small amounts of information on your device, for example, your computer or mobile phone. These include small files known as cookies. They cannot be used to identify you personally.

These pieces of information are used to improve services for you through, for example:

  • recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don’t need to do it for every web page requested
  • measuring how many people are using services, so they can be made easier to use and there’s enough capacity to ensure they are fast
  • analysing anonymised data to help us understand how people interact with our website so we can make them better

You can manage these small files and learn more about them from the article, Internet Browser cookies- what they are and how to manage them

Learn how to remove cookies set on your device

There are two types of cookie you may encounter when using our site :

First party cookies

These are our own cookies, controlled by us and used to provide information about usage of our site.

We use cookies in several places – we’ve listed each of them below with more details about why we use them and how long they will last.

Third party cookies

These are cookies found in other companies’ internet tools which we are using to enhance our site, for example Facebook or Twitter have their own cookies, which are controlled by them.

We do not control the dissemination of these cookies. You should check the third party websites for more information about these.

Log files

Log files allow us to record visitors’ use of the site. The CMS puts together log file information from all our visitors, which we use to make improvements to the layout of the site and to the information in it, based on the way that visitors move around it. Log files do not contain any personal information about you. If you receive the HTML-formatted version of a newsletter, your opening of the newsletter email is notified to us and saved. Your clicks on links in the newsletter are also saved. These and the open statistics are used in aggregate form to give us an indication of the popularity of the content and to help us make decisions about future content and formatting.