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Saturday 30 April 2022

Black-winged Stilt at Hickling

Not expecting to improve my desperately slow-growing year list before the end of April, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to add both Black-winged Stilt and Greenshank today! The Stilt was on Brendon's Marsh at Hickling - perhaps it was one of last year's birds returning. It was quite flighty, being spooked by Avocets several times, but eventually returning. 

Other interesting birds included a flyover Greenshank, s a trio of Garganey, a Red Kite and a Marshie and Buzzard combo!

Stock Doves - a record garden count!

There are usually a few Stock Doves hanging nervously around the garden: they are very timid birds that behave a lot like Turtle Doves. On several occasions Stock Doves have attempted nesting in our owl box, but in the past have always been prevented from doing so by Grey Squirrels or Jackdaws. 

It was quite a surprise, therefore, to see seven feeding together - seemingly a mix of adults and juveniles. It seems likely that a pair has finally kept possession of the nest box!

Friday 29 April 2022

No Ouzels at Waxham Sands - but Hickling saves the day!

Not wanting to miss the astonishing flood of Ring Ouzels into Norfolk, I headed out to Horsey Gap for an early-morning four mile hike. I walked past the camp sites, checking every bush and turfy field: nothing! A walk through the dunes was similarly unproductive, apart from at least a couple of dozen Stonechats, a Roe Deer and a few Linnets.  (Just after I returned home, the pager reported 17 Ouzels at Waxham!)

Since Hickling was on my way home, I stopped off and walked out to the 'mound' just before Stubb Mill. Here I found a Wood Sandpiper before finally managing to add Ring Ouzel to the year list (as well as a couple of belated Ringed Plovers!)

"Phone home!"

Busy day in the office yesterday: that, and the rather unseasonal weather, kept me indoors most of the day. However, there were still plenty of birds to enjoy: Buzzards, Sparrowhawks and all the other regulars. These two, however, won the prizes for cutest visitors!

Thursday 28 April 2022

Ghost of the Heath!

Our beautiful white male Common Buzzard is patrolling his territory for his fourth year: he seems to be paired with the same dark female with a broad, dark breast band. It's lovely to be able to watch these handsome birds displaying from my office window!

Wednesday 27 April 2022

Pipit at Thornham Point

While looking for - and failing to find - a couple of Ouzels at Thornham 'blockhouse' yesterday, I noticed this large pipit. It seemed 30% bigger than nearby Mipits and had a well-marked head.
Any thoughts most welcome!

Tuesday 26 April 2022

North Coast from Thornham to Cley: five year ticks!

My turn to drive today, so the team assembled at Blofield Heath for a speedy run up to North West Norfolk. First stop was Peddar's Way, Ringstead, where the recent Dotterel had apparently moved on: so we did the same, driving the short distance to Thornham Harbour. A short walk added Wheatear, White Wagtail and Wood Sandpiper to the year list: the 'W' theme continued with a distant flock of 10+ Whimbrel. The first Cuckoo of the year could be heard but not seen!
Since we were nearby, we carried on to Titchwell, where - despite a long walk out to Thornham Point - nothing of particular note was available.

A somewhat frustrating drive eastwards (diversion signs everywhere!) got us to Cley for tea and scones: while we were enjoying these on the patio a Hobby circled overhead. The walk out to the centre hides gave us the usual Cley Assortment: Ruff, Avocets and lots of Black-tailed Godwits. On the way back to the car we stopped to 'enjoy' typically obscured views of a Grasshopper Warbler.

Monday 25 April 2022

Hemblington Church bird survey

The usual crew (Linda, Sue, Peter and I) met at the Church for the monthly bird survey. The cold northerly wind meant few birds found their way onto the list, but surprisingly they represented over 20 species! Primroses, Cowslips and Oxlips were in bloom still...