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Thursday 31 May 2018

At last: a Grasshopper Warbler at Strumpshaw Fen!

Today I popped over to the Fen quite early (7.00am) to look for the reported 'three drake Garganey' from last night. Unfortunately, there was no sign of them, but I did manage two photos I was very happy with - a smart little Grasshopper Warbler - and enjoyed the constant 'chatter' of Garden Warblers as I walked the circuit. A Kingfisher was perched by the river bench, while a distant female Cuckoo called continually.

A move to Buckenham added a much closer Cuckoo, as well as several Whitethroats, Linnets and waders. A dapper little Weasel scurried in front of me as I walked back to the car.



Wednesday 30 May 2018

Great White Egrets at Hickling and bonus birds at Potter Heigham...

The weather forecast was so bad (and so wrong!) that Brian and I nearly didn't go out: I'm glad we did! First stop was Potter Heigham Marsh: no sign of any Spoonbills or GWEs, but there were two summer-plumaged Curlew Sandpipers and a flock of twenty-six Black-tailed Godwits. A dapper little male Kestrel captured a Starling right in front of us.

A move to Potter Heigham and a walk through the woods to the hide overlooking Rush Hills revealed where the Great White Egrets had relocated to: there were two birds present, one on the scrape and one much closer to the south of Weavers' Way. Several Swallowtails on the wing, as well as Cuckoo and Marsh Harrier.

Last stop was Hickling NWT Reserve for a sandwich and cuppa: a walk out to Stubb's Mill added six distant Cranes to the day list as well as a freshly-released Eyed Hawk Moth (Thanks to James E and Steve S for the I/d!)

Tuesday 29 May 2018

Marathon live broadcast to the USA!

I've just finished a three hour interview which went out live across the United States (and will subsequently be available as a podcast, I believe!)

It was very interesting but - of course - somewhat fraught, being live! But, as predicted, the host (Dave Schrader) was absolutely a delight to work with. A thoroughly exhausting but enjoyable evening away from the TV!

Lots of dragons and damsels at Strumpshaw Fen

An early morning walk around the Fen with Brian, Norman and Chris didn't provide much in the way of birdlife - some great Marsh Harriers, three Cuckoos, a couple of Buzzards and a Common Tern being the highlights - but the insect life more than compensated: Banded Demoiselle, Scarce Chaser, Norfolk Hawker, lots of Variables, my first Red-eyed Damselfly of the year and - of course - some photogenic Swallowtails...



Monday 28 May 2018

Hymenoptera: Honey Bees and a hornet enjoy our garden!

While Linda carried out some routine maintenance on her hives (and failed once more to find a queen in either) a queen Hornet started investigating an old hole in our soffits left when a cold water tank was removed.

As it happens, I really like Hornets, but not in my loft, so when queenie disappeared for a fly around the garden I blocked the hole up with a cork! I've not seen a Hornet with a white 'shield' on its thorax before - is it a different species?