A drift of thrift

Thrift covering the landscape at Burnham Overy Staithe

This afternoon Brenda and I had a walk at Burnham Overy Staithe. It’s a walk that takes in tidal mudflats, flood meadows and sand dunes, and always has a wide variety of wildlife. We had lovely views of reed buntings near the path: Everything is resplendent at the moment in full summer plumage.

male reed bunting

I also managed to photograph an obliging meadow pipit, which I think was just waiting for me to go away before it took food to its young.

meadow pipit

Similarly a pair of redshank flew around close to us, basically trying to keep us away from their nest site. I took a few photographs and then we walked away to try not to disturb them unduly.

A redshank trying to distract us away from its nest

Towards the end of the walk I also had nice views of a kestrel hovering. It then landed in a small tree and preened for a while before getting back to the serious business of hunting.


My final photograph of the day was of a damsel-fly, a species called four-spotted chaser, which was flitting around near the path.

four-spotted chaser

My only new bird species for the day was little tern: There were several flying around – lovely delicate birds which I always enjoy seeing. I’ll try to get a decent photo of one some time this year…

Brenda writes: “Today in the moth trap we had another poplar hawk-moth which I brought in to show to our daughter. It was revving up when it climbed out of the pot onto her hand and flew off when she took it outside. We had a new moth for this season which is a particular favourite. We never tire of seeing the buff tip, although we really think a more accurate name would be ‘twig moth’ because that’s exactly what it looks like.

A buff tip, or what we like to call a twig moth! What amazing camouflage.

James was saying the other day that treble lines used to be quite rare but are now seen in greater numbers. I had nine today including with extremely wiggly lines – wonderful.

A rather wiggly treble lines

It was another good day for flowers. On the road sides I picked up my first common mallow flowers and also foxglove and lupin. We had a walk from Burnham Overy Staithe and there was lots to see. Shrubby seablite grows everywhere along the banks by the harbour and its leaves are often tinged red. It has tiny greeny-yellow flowers.

shrubby seablite

Sow-thistles all have a cluster of stalked yellow flowers. Identification is always down to the type of leaf and the most important feature of prickly sow-thistle is its shiny or glossy leaves. Similarly there are many plants that could be mistaken for a dandelion and the leaf shape is the first thing to examine. Mouse-ear hawkweed has un-toothed hairy leaves. In this picture it can be seen with sheep’s sorrel and common vetch.

mouse-ear hawkweed

Two more species today were rough poppy and wild mignonette but the star of the day was a southern marsh orchid.

southern marsh orchid

New species for May 25th:
Birds: little tern
Moths: buff tip
Flowers: common mallow, foxglove, lupin, shrubby seablite, prickly sow-thistle, mouse-ear hawkweed, southern marsh orchid, wild mignonette, rough poppy