Update and video: Rare sighting of spectacled warbler delights birdwatchers in Norfolk

A spectacled warbler has been spotted in Burnham Overy - just the seventh recorded sighting of the bird in Britain. Pic: Kayn Forbes.

A spectacled warbler has been spotted in Burnham Overy - just the seventh recorded sighting of the bird in Britain. Pic: Kayn Forbes.

Submitted: Kayn Forbes

It’s usually found in warmer climes, but an extremely rare visitor to Britain has seen birdwatchers flocking to the Norfolk coast.

A spectacled warbler (Sylvia conspicillata) was yesterday spotted in the dunes at Burnham Overy, to the delight of birdwatchers who have travelled across the country for a glimpse of the brownish-grey bird, which measures about 13cm.

The reason for the excitement is that this is only the eighth recorded sighting of a spectacled warbler in Britain.

While fairly common in Africa and the Mediterranean, the bird’s forays to Britain might be rare, but of its seven visits to these shores, this is the second sighting in Norfolk.

In 2011 one was spotted on Scolt Head Island, not far from Burnham Overy. But this time, the more easily accessible Gun Hill at Burnham Overy is where one of the birds has landed.

The bird was still being spotted at the location today.

The visit of the spectacled warbler comes just days after another rare bird sighting in the county.

A black-headed bunting was spotted in Cromer - just the third time the bird has been seen in Norfolk since records begun.

That bird was spotted by Sue Bignell in her garden in Cromer. After posting it on a site for bird watchers, she discovered it was the bunting, which has only been spotted in the county a handful of times.

Mrs Bignell, 54, said: “I looked in my bird books for this bird but could not see it so put it on Facebook and asked the Norfolk Countryside Photos site if anyone knew what it was.

“Everything went manic after that. Everyone was so excited and I was thrilled that I had managed to capture this beautiful bird on film.”

Cley birdwatcher Richard Porter confirmed it was a male black-headed bunting rarely seen in the country.

He said: “In Britain, there are just over 200 records of this bird being seen.”

• Have you spotted a rare bird? Email


  • A comment facility on an unimportant subject. Where is the comment facility on the Andrew Scottow campaign offering a reward to catch the A47 killer driver in the black car? The EDP is running the story, it is one that affects us all, bad drivers getting away with causing lethal accidents. Do we not deserve the full details of what Norfolk police did afterwards? Did they go send someone to Bernard Matthews or other employers in the area and examine cctv there, did they canvas repair garages, did they check scrap yards? And what of the Highways agency-what could they do to improve the safety of that stretch of road? A nice birdie story , lovely, but out there is someone who got away with dangerous driving that has had tragic consequences. The EDP could organise assistance for Mr Scottow, a reward fund appeal, so that he does not have to spend his savings to try to bring this dangerous driver of the black car to justice.

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    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, June 3, 2014

  • Nana Mouskouri?

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    Monday, June 2, 2014

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