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April 2007

Previous months: January 2007 ; February 2007 ; March 2007

 

Monday 30th April

I'd only ever seen one Capercaillie, and in fact that was more a big black blob glimpsed flying through some trees some 16 years ago. Now they're even harder to find than they were back then, or at least they would be if it wasn't for the RSPB arranging organised viewing of their lek at Loch Garten every spring. They're early risers and the RSPB open up the main hide at Loch Garten at 5.30 am, but typically they only show from a smaller hide further forwards which can only accommodate a small number of people at a time. You might not think there would be many people wanting to see birds in a remote Scottish forest at 5.30 in the morning during the week, but you'd be wrong. If you don't get there well before 5.30 you may not get in the first group, and you risk missing the Capers.

Today there were about 30 people there at 5.30 and we were just early enough to be in the first group. We were ushered into the front hide and given just a few seconds of viewing to enable the next group to have a chance. During those few seconds an impressive male Capercaillie was sat in the top of a small tree in full view (but against the rising sun). The lekking is apparently over already and so we weren't treated to any display, but the view was good given the conditions, so I wasn't complaining (much).

A pair of Ospreys were also visible from the main hide - probably the most famous Ospreys in the world. Whenever I tell non-birders I'm going to Scotland they ask me if I'm going to see the Ospreys at Loch Garten. Well, no, not really as I see the occasional Osprey on migration here and they're all over the place in Scotland, but now I can say yes, I have seen the famous birds at Loch Garten! And they really were famous this week as their love life hit the national media's headlines: the dominant male had returned to find his partner already sitting on eggs that had been fathered by another male. He reacted jealously by kicking the eggs out of the nest!

Other interesting birds seen in Scotland today (I won't give the locations as rare breeding birds are at risk from egg-collectors) included pairs of Black-throated Divers and Red-throated Divers and a single Slavonian Grebe but no sign of any Black Grouse, Crested Tits or Scottish Crossbills. Finally we went to Burghead where a King Eider has been present for some time, but all I could see here were normal Eiders and Long-tailed Ducks.

Capercaillie, Loch Garten, 30-Apr-07 Ospreys, Loch Garten, 30-Apr-07

Capercaillie (left) and Ospreys (right), Loch Garten, 30th April 2007

 

Red Squirrel, Loch Morlich, 30-Apr-07 Osprey, Scotland, 30-Apr-07

Red Squirrel, near Loch Morlich, 30th April 2007

 

Osprey, undisclosed location, 30th April 2007

Black-throated Diver, Scotland, 30-Apr-07 Black-throated Diver, Scotland, 30-Apr-07

Black-throated Diver, undisclosed location, 30th April 2007

 

River Spey, Boat of Garten, 30-Apr-07 Long-tailed Ducks, Burghead, 30-Apr-07

River Spey, Boat of Garten, 30th April 2007

Long-tailed Ducks, Burghead, 30th April 2007

 

Sunday 29th April

Left Stephen's at Dundee at lunchtime and headed back to Loch Venachar near Callander to have another look for the Barrow's Goldeneye. Spent the whole afternoon scouring the area but just a few (Common) Goldeneye, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, Goosander and a few Common Sandpipers, Siskins, Tree Pipit and a hybrid Hooded Crow.

After almost daily reports for several weeks, the Barrow's Goldeneye hadn't been reported for a few days until Friday when a negative report there had been quickly followed by a positive sighting. That day I knew a friend had been going to look for it and I had assumed it was him who had reported it. Having failed to find it I decided to give him a call to see if he had any more detailed info as to where it might be. In fact he hadn't seen it - his was the negative report - and worse, it seems that the report on Friday was dubious - the consensus was that it had departed last week-end when the daily reports had dried up. So I'd wasted two afternoons looking for a bird that had been gone a week. Great.

A more positive outcome of the phone call was being directed to an excellent site for Dippers nearby. I spent an enjoyable few minutes watching the Dippers whilst trying to juggle a camera with a haggis in one hand and a bottle of Irn-Bru in the other (yes, both disgusting, but there's no point in going to foreign countries if you don't sample the local delicacies). Watching Dippers seemed a strangely appropriate way of spending the evening after a week-end of dipping out (for the non-birders reading, that's twitcher jargon for failing to see a bird that you've travelled to see).

Common Sandpiper, Loch Venachar, 29-Apr-07 Dipper, Callander, 29-Apr-07

Common Sandpiper, Loch Venachar, 29th April 2007

 

Dipper, Callander, 29th April 2007

Pied Wagtail, Loch Venachar, 29-Apr-07 hybrid Hooded x Carrion Crow, 3 Lochs Forest Trail, 29-Apr-07

Pied Wagtail, Loch Venachar, 29th April 2007

hybrid Hooded Crow x Carrion Crow, Three Lochs Forest Drive, 29th April 2007

 

Saturday 28th April

I'm now on holiday for two weeks and the first task was to nip up to Scotland for a few days, taking in a visit to my brother in Dundee, the Barrow's Goldeneye that has overwintered near Callander and the Scottish specialities in Speyside. We left Norfolk early with a view to seeing the Goldeneye and then reaching my brother's, but plans started to go wrong when an hour or so out of Norfolk the pager mega-alerted news of an Egyptian Vulture seen back near Watton (not far from home in Norfolk). There are only two accepted British records of this Mediterranean species, one shot in Somerset in 1825 and one shot in Essex in 1868, so this is obviously quite a momentous occurrence - did I really want to be driving to Scotland? An abrupt u-turn and an hour or so later I was scouring the skies north and east of Watton and not seeing any vultures.

Unfortunately due to a communications problem with the pager service the news had taken quite a long time to leak out and by the time I got there it had flown off some 2-3 hours earlier. Mindful of the fact that my brother was expecting us in Dundee that evening, there hadn't been any sign of the vulture anywhere for ages and it was probably an escape (at least that's what I have to try and convince myself - in reality it probably has the best possible credentials, coinciding with exceptional numbers of Mediterranean raptors, i.e. Black Kites, turning up and the largest influx of Glossy Ibises for over 100 years), I took the difficult decision to press on to Scotland.

We arrived at Loch Venachar, near Callander, where the Barrow's Goldeneye was nowhere to be seen, so we ended up arriving late at Dundee hoping that the rest of the trip would be more successful.

 

Friday 27th April

A Reed Warbler was singing at Sparham Pools this evening, my first of the year. Actually it was there last time I went (Sunday) but its song wasn't quite typical and without being able to see it I didn't put it down. Still lots of Sedge Warbler-like scratchy notes and even some Marsh Warbler-like mimicry, but always far more like a Reed Warbler than anything else - and it eventually showed well removing any outstanding niggling doubts. By the time I left here it was too late to have a proper look round Swanton Morley, but I popped in to check there weren't any Black Terns there. There weren't, but 2 Kingfishers zipped by and a Garden Warbler was new for the year.

 

Thursday 26th April

More moths tonight and last night:

Early Grey, Bawdeswell, 26-Apr-07 Common Pug, Bawdeswell, 23-Apr-07

Early Grey (left) and Common Pug (right), Bawdeswell, 26th April 2007

 

Common Carpet, Bawdeswell, 25-Apr-07  

Common Carpet, Bawdeswell, 25th April 2007

 

Tuesday 24th April

After Sunday's antics chasing the Black Kite with no success I was given a second chance today. Presumably the same bird (or perhaps not?) was relocated between Burnham Deepdale and Burnham Norton this morning and very obligingly it stayed there all day. This is a site I can easily reach during my lunchbreaks normally, but today was the first day of my diploma which meant I was at Warwick Business School, zillions of miles away from Burnham Norton (or so it seemed as I read the pager messages during my lunch time). Very, very happily though, I got away from Warwick in just enough time to reach Burnham Norton before it went to roost, so at long, long last, I've now seen Black Kite in the UK, and in Norfolk to boot!! This was a real bogey bird for me, by far the most frequently-occurring bird in Norfolk that I'd not seen, so I'm a very happy chappy this evening.

Black Kite, Burnham Norton, 24-Apr-07 Black Kite, Burnham Norton, 24-Apr-07

Black Kite, between Burnham Deepdale & Burnham Norton, 24th April 2007

 

Twenty-plume Moth, Bawdeswell, 23-Apr-07  

Twenty-plume Moth, Bawdeswell, 23rd April 2007

 

Monday 23rd April

Another new moth this evening - a Waved Umber. Quite a striking beast with clever markings designed to resemble wood grain. The small dark ugly one is a Pug, but I'm not sure which species. Last time I thought I had a Currant Pug, it turned out to be a Common Pug - but this one has better marked spots along the front edge of the wing, so maybe... Please let me know if you can confirm! (update 24-Apr-07 - the verdict is probably Wormwood Pug)

Waved Umber, Bawdeswell, 23-Apr-07 Pug sp., Bawdeswell, 23-Apr-07

Waved Umber (left) and Pug sp., probably Wormwood Pug (right), Bawdeswell, 23rd April 2007

 

Sunday 22nd April

A wedding yesterday afternoon/evening meant an early start today was out of the question, which was unfortunate as if I'd been up in time I would have been at Sheringham Bird Observatory where I would have seen, and who knows, perhaps even found, a Black Kite. If we take the view that the Black-eared Kite that wintered in the county is a different species, then I've never seen Black Kite in the UK, which is getting to be a bit frustrating as my colleagues at Sheringham are bumping into them on a regular basis now! Unusually, this one had the decency to hang around for a little while (viewable from Andy's back garden for an hour apparently - I expect you'll be able to read about it on his blog [click here] shortly). Several people did manage to connect with it but sadly I wasn't one of them. Doh.

A much better bird, well a rarer one anyway, turned up in Norwich today. Hot on the heels of my odd-singing Chiffchaff (which was still at Swanton Morley yesterday by the way), recalling Iberian Chiffchaff but not quite right, a REAL Iberian Chiffchaff was confirmed near the N&N Hospital this morning. There are very few accepted records of this species in the UK and none in Norfolk, so I was obviously keen to see and hear it, but asides from its rarity-value I was also interested to see how similar, or not, it was to my bird from Swanton Morley. Fortunately this bird performed well for me, singing and showing on cue.

Iberian Chiffchaff, Colney, 22-Apr-07 Iberian Chiffchaff, Colney, 22-Apr-07

Iberian Chiffchaff, Colney, 22nd April 2007

After that I wasted far too much time chasing after the kite before ending up at Sparham Pools. Here Common Tern, Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat were all new for the year and a Cuckoo was calling.

 

Saturday 21st April

Plenty of migrants at Swanton Morley, though nothing out of the ordinary. Singing Sedge Warblers have now reached double figures and among the Swallows and Sand Martins were my first House Martins and Swifts of the year. A Cuckoo was another first for the year, my 100th species within 5 km from home (and the 90th at Swanton Morley).

Bintree Woods was quiet. I was just thinking to myself how my theory that it would a good place to see migrating raptors from had proved to be completely wrong when I picked up a Marsh Harrier. Perhaps there's hope yet!

Grey Wagtail, Swanton Morley, 21-Apr-07 Orange-tip, Bintree Woods, 21-Apr-07

Grey Wagtail, Swanton Morley, 21st April 2007

male Orange-tip, Bintree Woods, 21st April 2007

 

Friday 20th April

Went to Buckenham this evening with a view to seeing the American Wigeon that's been there for months. I did see it, but it wasn't co-operating very well and certainly wasn't going to give itself up for the camera. Two male Ring Ouzels were good, and might even have been close enough for photos had they not been directly between me and the Sun. The unusually heavy passage of Ring Ouzels continues at the coast and more and more inland records are appearing too. Other migrants included Wheatear and Little Ringed Plover. On hearing news of an interesting hybrid duck at Cantley I popped off there, but on failing to find it I came back to Buckenham to see the two male Reeves's Pheasants that have taken up residence along the approach road. They're not wild of course but they're truly beautiful creatures.

Lapwing, Buckenham, 20-Apr-07 Chinese Water Deer, Buckenham, 20-Apr-07

Lapwing (left) and Chinese Water Deer (right), Buckenham, 20th April 2007

 

Reeves's Pheasant, Buckenham, 20-Apr-07 Reeves's Pheasant, Buckenham, 20-Apr-07

male Reeves's Pheasant(s), Buckenham, 20th April 2007

 

Tuesday 17th April

Went to Swanton Morley before work this morning. Numbers of warblers are still increasing I think, at least I've not seen 4 Sedge Warblers there before. The male Ring Ouzel is still present, though still dodging the camera. Everyone else who I've met down there recently has seen Green Sandpiper there, always in the same spot having flushed it from the path 10 minutes before or after I've walked past. It's not bothered me much as I've seen Green Sand down the road at Sparham several times this year, but I'd not seen them at this site and it was starting to become a bit irritating! Today made up for it though, as when I walked past the same spot I put up not one but 3 Green Sandpipers and a Snipe! The escaped Blue-winged Goose is still hanging around with the Egyptian Geese - it can often be heard before it's seen, sometimes sounding quite oriole-like!

Today was obviously a good day for migrant Green Sandpipers as this evening I had two more fly over Sparham Pools. Also there, a Cetti's Warbler gave a quick burst of song, the first time I've recorded them here. The Rabbit population here is enormous! A quick scan/count produced over 220 and I'm sure if I'd counted them more carefully it would have been much higher but I was trying to find another Ring Ouzel amongst them.

Blackcap, Swanton Morley, 17-Apr-07 Pug sp., Bawdeswell, 16-Apr-07

male Blackcap, Swanton Morley, 17th April 2007

 

immature Grey Heron, Sparham Pools, 17th April

 

Cowslips, Ringstead, 17-Apr-07  

Cowslips, Ringstead, 17th April 2007

 

 

Monday 16th April

Another inland Ring Ouzel today, this time at Abbey Farm, Flitcham during my lunchtime. Way too far off to even attempt a photo.

Pug sp., Bawdeswell, 16-Apr-07 Twenty-plume Moth, Bawdeswell, 16-Apr-07

Common Pug, Bawdeswell, 16th April 2007 (Thanks for the ID Andy!)

 

Twenty-plume Moth, Bawdeswell, 16th April 2007

Mistle Thrush, Flitcham, 16-Apr-07  

Mistle Thrush, Flitcham, 16th April 2007

 

 

Sunday 15th April

The day started with a new bird for the house, though not an unexpected one: a Blackcap singing just outside the bedroom window.

A lunchtime stroll round Sparham Pools provided more in the way of non-avian interest than birds. A few squeaks and russles next to the path eventually resolved themselves into a whole herd of Shrews (what do you call a flock of Shrews - I'm sure it's not herd really!). They were absolutely tiny and hard to see even when you were looking at them. They may well have been Pygmy Shrews, but I'm not sure about that. I suspect they were babies so I'm not sure that their tiny size was relevant to identification. A bit further on a fleeting glimpse of a blackish rat-sized mammal was intriguing - no idea what it was. At least seven species of butterfly on the wing today, several of which were my first for the year.

During the last week there's been unusual numbers of Ring Ouzels recorded along the coast. They're a fairly scarce migrant that normally pass through the county each spring and autumn, usually peaking in late April or early May, although sometimes recorded as early as March. Inland they're especially scarce so I never expected to find one in my 5 km circle, but recently I have been looking pretty hard in places where the habitat looks good for them just in case.

This evening at Swanton Morley the odd-singing Chiffchaff was still present and a good variety of other common species. At the back of one of the first pools I reached is a grassy bank which is one of the spots I imagine I might find a Ring Ouzel if I'm lucky. This evening there were a number of birds there so I scanned along looking for a Ring Ouzel: I saw Mistle Thrush, Rabbit, pair of Red-legged Partridges, more Rabbits, Green Woodpecker, Rabbit, and a Ring Ouzel... right on cue, a stunning male Ring Ouzel!

Ladybird, Bawdeswell, 15-Apr-07 Egyptian Goose, Swanton Morley, 15-Apr-07

Ladybird, Bawdeswell, 15th April 2007. I'm thinking it's a 10-spot Ladybird Adalia 10-punctata - please let me know if you can confirm

 

family of Egyptian Geese, Swanton Morley, 15th April 2007.

 

Holkham Lake, Swanton Morley, 15-Apr-07 Ring Ouzel, Swanton Morley, 15-Apr-07

Holkham Lake in the evening sunshine, Swanton Morley, 15th April 2007

 

(distant!) male Ring Ouzel, Swanton Morley, 15th April 2007

 

 

Saturday 14th April

Sheringham Bird Observatory was mist-bound so not surprising that I didn't see much. A Barn Owl was the same colour as the mist and a Wheatear was for me a belated first of the year. Mammals included a live Bank Vole and a dead Common Shrew.

Willow Warbler, Sheringham, 14-Apr-07 Willow Warbler, Sheringham, 14-Apr-07

Willow Warbler in the mist, Sheringham, 14th April 2007

 

Yellowhammer, Sheringham, 14-Apr-07 Hawthorn, Sheringham, 14-Apr-07

Yellowhammer and Hawthorn blossom in the mist, Sheringham, 14th April 2007

Cley provided fantastic views of Bearded Tits, though they didn't sit still enough for me to get decent photos. A couple of Cetti's Warblers were singing and I saw my first Yellow Wagtail and Sandwich Terns of the year, again rather late. It was mostly pretty standard stuff but enjoyable all the same.

Bearded Tit, Cley, 14-Apr-07 Bearded Tit, Cley, 14-Apr-07

male & female Bearded Tits, Cley, 14th April 2007

 

Shelduck, Cley, 14-Apr-07 Shelduck, Cley, 14-Apr-07
Shelduck, Cley, 14-Apr-07 Shelduck, Cley, 14-Apr-07
Shelduck, Cley, 14-Apr-07 Shelduck, Cley, 14-Apr-07
Shelduck, Cley, 14-Apr-07 Shelduck, Cley, 14-Apr-07

pairs of Shelduck, Cley, 14th April 2007

 

Avocet, Cley, 14-Apr-07  

Avocet, Cley, 14th April 2007

 

 

Wednesday 11th April

More migrants around today, with an increase in numbers of Willow Warblers particularly obvious locally. The Chiffchaff with an unusual song is still present today. A swimming rodent at Sparham Pools this evening, in the same place that I saw Otters recently, but this was much smaller. It also swam differently - the nose and back were kept out of the water as it swam. I think it was a Water Vole, but I'd need a longer view to rule out the possibility that it was just a swimming Rat.

Another new moth last night, an Engrailed (not a Square Spot - thanks Andy for pointing that out!) .

Engrailed, Bawdeswell, 10-Apr-07  

Engrailed, Bawdeswell, 10th April 2007

 

Monday 9th April

Today was fairly quiet again for migrants though a few more Chiffchaffs and the odd Blackcap and Willow Warbler was new. Also a Sedge Warbler was the first for the year (about time!).

One particular Chiffchaff at Swanton Morley had me going for a while. Its song was quite unusual for a Chiffchaff and reminded me a bit of Iberian Chiffchaff, an extremely rare vagrant to the UK and yet to be recorded in Norfolk. I've only ever seen one Iberian Chiffchaff and my recollection of that bird's song has failed, but I was pretty sure this wasn't quite right. However it was worth spending some time with just in case and I eventually returned home to check the recordings. To my surprise these all sounded remarkably similar and I ended up spending most of the rest of the day making sure it wasn't one (it wasn't, unfortunately, at least I don't think it was).

Chiffchaff, Wensum Valley, 9-Apr-07 Chiffchaff, Wensum Valley, 9-Apr-07

Chiffchaff with unusual song, Swanton Morley, 9th April 2007. For more photos and a description of the song, click here.

 

Easter Sunday, 8th April (Happy Easter!)

A few more spring migrants were seen in the county today, though it wasn't exactly swarming with them. At Swanton Morley there were 5 Blackcaps and 3 Willow Warblers singing their little hearts out. Not a great deal else apart from the old escaped Blue-winged Goose again (I saw this previously in 2004 but not since). It was associating with a family of Egyptian Geese who didn't seem to mind it at first but then all of a sudden and for no apparent reason the adult pair turned on it and forcefully evicted it from their presence! The next Egyptian Goose it wandered up to didn't seem all that impressed either.

After a good Easter Sunday church service and a delicious roast lamb, Vitty and I headed off for a stroll round Foxley Wood. As expected on a sunny afternoon, not much was doing bird-wise (another Willow Warbler was the highlight) but plenty of wildflowers including lots of Barren Strawberry, Common Dog Violets (I think), Wood-sorrel, Wood Anenomes, Dog's Mercury and the first few Bluebells.

Finally Sparham Pools in the early evening was nearly as dead and not as peaceful as usual with motorbikes racing up and down the nearby lanes and some sort of race (?) commentary blasting out across the valley on loudspeakers.

Blue-winged Goose, Swanton Morley, 8-Apr-07 Great Spotted Woodpecker, Swanton Morley, 8-Apr-07

escaped Blue-winged Goose, Swanton Morley,
8th April 2007 (click here for more photos)

 

Great Spotted Woodpecker, Swanton Morley, 8th April 2007

 

Wood Anenome, Foxley Wood, 8-Apr-07 Wood Anenome, Foxley Wood, 8-Apr-07

Wood Anenomes, Foxley Wood, 8th April 2007

 

Yellow Anenome, Sparham Pools, 8-Apr-07  

I think this has to be an escaped Yellow Anenome, but if anyone knows better please let me know! Sparham Pools, 8th April 2007 (Update 13/4: A couple of people have pointed out that the flower looks like Lesser Celandine and the leaves look like Herb Robert, and that's undeniably true. I could have sworn the leaves belonged to the flower, but I suspect I was wrong and this is just a celandine! I'll try and remember to check next time I go back, if it's still there).

 

 

Saturday 7th April

Another Early Thorn came in last night and I awoke at 4.00 am to the sound of a Little Owl calling (still haven't seen one here, but I did see one at Bintree later today).

Bintree Woods was interesting this morning, the highlight being a pair of Willow Tits. This used to be a common species and until the early 1990s you used to be able to see them and hear their distinctive call all over the place. But then they experienced a catastrophic crash in their population and they've been very hard to find since then. My records database has 260 entries for this species in the 7 years from 1987 to 1993 but only 18 entries in the 14 years since. A few are hanging on in the upper Wensum Valley (Sculthorpe Fen is the only well-known reliable site to see this species in Norfolk now), so it's not altogether a surprise to find them round here too, but I don't recall hearing of any records this side of Fakenham for years.

Sparham Pools was unproductive this morning - no sign of the Scaup reported later on.

Early Thorn, Bawdeswell, 6-Apr-07 Brambling, Bintree Woods, 7-Apr-07

Early Thorn, Bawdeswell, 6th April 2007

 

Brambling, Bintree Woods, 7th April 2007

 

Red-legged Partridge, Bintree Woods, 7-Apr-07 Red-legged Partridge, Bintree Woods, 7-Apr-07

Red-legged Partridge, Bintree Woods, 7th April 2007

 

Roe Deer, Bintree Woods, 7-Apr-07 Greylag Goose, Sparham Pools, 7-Apr-07

Roe Deer, Bintree Woods, 7th April 2007

 

Greylag Goose, Sparham Pools , 7th April 2007

 

 

Friday 6th April (Good Friday)

Whitwell Common was first stop this morning and was as pleasant as last time. This isn't the sort of place that's likely to turn up lots of rarities, but there was a good selection of common birds like Marsh Tits and Treecreepers as well as a couple of slightly less expected things - Water Rail calling and a Woodcock flushed. This place feels so good for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, but though the other two woodpeckers were very evident, absolutely no sign of their scarcer relative.

Swanton Morley provided no less than 3 Cetti's Warblers singing today (possibly 4). Good numbers of wildfowl present including 100 Tufted Ducks and 27 Gadwall. Again, both common woodpeckers were obvious but no visible sign of Lesser Spot (although I spent 45 minutes unsuccessfully trying to locate an interesting-sounding drumming woodpecker which might possibly have been Lesser). A Kingfisher and a couple of Grey Wagtails were nice and a pair of Redpolls flew over. A good selection of mammals today including Red Fox at Whitwell and two separate Stoats here at Swanton Morley, my first of the year I think. Another first for the year came in the form of the classic herald of spring, a Swallow.

Plans to head off to Sparham Pool later were scuppered when I discovered that digging holes in the garden to plant things is harder work than I anticipated. They'll probably all die sooon anyway as we don't have the first clue how to garden. While they last though (give it to the end of the week-end I reckon, if there isn't a frost), they're better than the bare earth and scrappy grass we've been looking at in the front garden for the last 6 months.

Coot, Swanton Morley, 6-Apr-07 Reed Bunting, Swanton Morley, 6-Apr-07

Coot (left) and Reed Bunting (right), Swanton Morley, 6th April 2007

 

Tufted Duck, Swanton Morley, 6-Apr-07 Egyptian Goose, Swanton Morley, 6-Apr-07

Tufted Duck (left) and Egyptian Goose (right), Swanton Morley, 6th April 2007

 

Thursday 5th April

Sparham Pools before work produced my first Willow Warbler of the year singing. Just a couple of brief bursts of song, but given that it's just arrived from sub-Saharan Africa and it was a freezing cold frosty morning, it probably didn't feel much like singing.

Later another new and very distinctive moth: an Early Thorn (not at all unusual, but the first one I've seen).

Red Dead-Nettles, Sparham Pools, 5-Apr-07 Early Thorn, Bawdeswell, 5-Apr-07

frosty Red Dead-Nettles, Sparham Pools, 5th April 2007 (just in case any late risers don't believe it was cold this morning!)

Early Thorn, Bawdeswell, 5th April 2007

 

Monday 2nd April

Not much happening at Swanton Morley this evening - 2 Snipe over at dusk, 10 Sand Martins and the Cetti's Warbler back in its usual spot. Lunchtime snaps from Brancaster Staithe:

Oystercatcher, Brancaster Staithe, 2-Apr-07 Bar-tailed Godwit, Brancaster Staithe, 2-Apr-07

Oystercatcher (left) and Bar-tailed Godwit (right), Brancaster Staithe, 2nd April 2007

 

Sunday 1st April

Took a stroll round Sparham Pools this evening. Not much avian interest, although 3 Grey Partridges were belated additions to the 5 km circle year list. They're declining generally but still common in north Norfolk, so I've been surprised not to have seen any of these locally up until today. A Green Sandpiper is still present and a Snipe flew over calling after dark.

By far the most exciting discovery was Otters. I was aware these are doing well in the county but didn't realise they were in the valley here. I'm pretty sure two individuals were involved although I only saw one at a time. Great fun watching them, although they were under water for most of the time (giving away their presence by a line of bubbles).

Grey Partridge, Sparham Pools, 1-Apr-07  

Grey Partridge, Sparham Pools, 1st April 2007

 

Previous months: January 2007 ; February 2007 ; March 2007

Next month: May 2007

Current month

_______________________________

Should anyone care about my 5 km circle year-list, I've now seen (or heard) 105 species within 5 km of my home at Bawdeswell (birds marked with an asterisk * are new this month):

  • Mute Swan
  • Greylag Goose
  • Canada Goose
  • Barnacle Goose
  • Egyptian Goose
  • Shelduck
  • Gadwall
  • Teal
  • Mallard
  • Shoveler
  • Pochard
  • Tufted Duck
  • Goldeneye
  • Goosander
  • Red-legged Partridge
  • Grey Partridge *
  • Pheasant
  • Little Grebe
  • Great Crested Grebe
  • Cormorant
  • Shag
  • Little Egret
  • Grey Heron
  • Marsh Harrier
  • Sparrowhawk
  • Buzzard
  • Kestrel
  • Peregrine
  • Water Rail
  • Moorhen
  • Coot
  • Oystercatcher
  • Golden Plover
  • Lapwing
  • Snipe
  • Woodcock
  • Green Sandpiper
  • Black-headed Gull
  • Common Gull
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Common Tern *
  • Stock Dove
  • Woodpigeon
  • Collared Dove
  • Cuckoo *
  • Barn Owl
  • Little Owl
  • Tawny Owl
  • Swift *
  • Kingfisher
  • Green Woodpecker
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Skylark
  • Sand Martin
  • Swallow *
  • House Martin *
  • Meadow Pipit
  • Grey Wagtail
  • Pied Wagtail
  • Wren
  • Dunnock
  • Robin
  • Ring Ouzel *
  • Blackbird
  • Fieldfare
  • Song Thrush
  • Redwing
  • Mistle Thrush
  • Cetti's Warbler
  • Sedge Warbler *
  • Reed Warbler *
  • Lesser Whitethroat *
  • Whitethroat *
  • Garden Warbler *
  • Blackcap
  • Chiffchaff
  • Willow Warbler *
  • Goldcrest
  • Long-tailed Tit
  • Marsh Tit
  • Willow Tit *
  • Coal Tit
  • Blue Tit
  • Great Tit
  • Nuthatch
  • Treecreeper
  • Jay
  • Magpie
  • Jackdaw
  • Rook
  • Carrion Crow
  • Starling
  • House Sparrow
  • Chaffinch
  • Brambling
  • Greenfinch
  • Goldfinch
  • Siskin
  • Linnet
  • Lesser Redpoll
  • Bullfinch
  • Yellowhammer
  • Reed Bunting