Saturday, 9 May 2015

Butterfly Ball

Out of the wind there is a little warmth in the air, a treat in this cold Spring. The Cow Parsley has grown high to fill the space between the gravestones, their white flowers helping to show off clumps of bluebells.

Walking along one of the paths that winds its way along the edge of the hillside that Cemetery sits on is like walking down a woodland ride, there are clumps of Primroses and I can hear a Chiff Chaffs monotonous song.

A scrap of bright blue catches my eye as it fly's past, it could easily be a detached bluebell petal caught by the wind, but it purposefully gains height around a Holly Tree and is joined by another flying blue petal. They are Holly Blues and they dance around each other and the Holly, occasionally one will break off and disappear into the depths of the overgrown Cemetery, only for another blue scrap to appear and join in the dance, sometimes there are up to half a dozen taking part in this butterfly lek. Then when the sun goes behind a cloud and the temperature drops, they disappear, settled on a leaf, wings folded, blue hidden until the sun reappears, the temperature rises and the butterfly ball starts again.

Holly Blue taking time out from the Butterfly Ball

Sunday, 3 May 2015

March and April filling in the gaps

Marsh Harrier
Friday 6th March
Dusk visit to Lyndford Arboretum, no Hawfinches, but lots of calling Redwings flighting in to roost in conifers, and a Tawny Owl heard.

Saturday 7th March

A quick half hour at Holme Marsh, a female Marsh Harrier, one Barn Owl and boxing Hares

Sunday 8th March
Garganey 1 male, on Patsy's Pool, Red Crested Pochard 4 Pairs on Patsy's Pool, Marsh Harrier 1, Cetti's heard.

Choseley Barns
Single Corn Bunting on wires

Thursday 12th March
Snettisham village, a single Woodlark song-flighting over the office.

Ken Hill Wood lunchtime
Marsh Tit saw several, first in ages, each year I wonder if they have just been very quiet over the winter or are they spring migrants? Also a Peacock my first butterfly of year.

Sunday 15th March.

An evening walk at Holme north from toilet block and back down access road - cold! Marsh Harrier at least 4 including 1 stonkingly well plumaged male, Barn Owl 1, Pied wagtail 3, Fieldfare 11, no summer migrants.

Saturday 21st March
A cold evening visit to Titchwell Marsh in search of Hen Harrier's, saw a male east along dunes at 17.30, plus c 6 Marsh Harriers, one Kestrel, a single male Red Crested Pochard, and two singing Cetti's Warblers.

Stopped at Thornham Harbour on the way home for the rather impressive Starling murmuration.

Male Garganey

Red Crested Pochard
Sunday 22nd March
Titchwell Marsh, winter birds thinning out, spring birds absent, sunnier & a little warmer than last night. Managed single Kingfisher perched on reeds on edge of Betts Pool, plus one Marsh Harrier, one male Red Crested Pochard. Otherwise quiet lots of Brents bathing on Fresh Marsh "good numbers" of Common Gulls passing through.

On way home saw a single Merlin in a field north of Choseley drying Barns, south of Barns 10 - 20 Fieldfare.

Barn Owl
Wednesday 1st April
Dene Park wood, Kent, got out of car and immediately heard first Chiff Chaff of spring in song, by car park a rather lovely clump of Wood anemones.

Thursday 2nd April
Hadlow, Kent, a Brimstone in garden.

Sunday 5th April
Holme Dunes NWT, very quiet, a few Chiff Chaffs. four Marsh Harriers, a Barn Owl, and one White Wagtail in with 10 Pieds.

Monday 6th April
An evening drive "Owling" with no 1 son [age 5].
Drove coast road as far as Lady Annes Drive at Holkham, then looped back inland on Ringstead Road, at great success no1 son saw 3 Barn Owls and a Buzzard well, I also got 2 Little Owls. Best Barn Owl was on Ringstead to Heacham road perched on a post allowing great views

Wednesday 8th April
Brancaster village, sunny day with Peacock, Comma, small Tortoiseshell seen and Blackcap and Chiff Chaff heard.

Another evening "Owling" no1 son. Started this time with a short walk at Holme then drove as far as Brancaster Staithe and the looped back inland. Highlights were 2 Barn Owls and No1 son getting brief views of a Little Owl, plus a couple of close Buzzards one of which was carrying a Leveret, and No 1 son learning to imitate a curlews call.

Saturday 11th April
Courtyard Farm with my wife and two small boys to collect pond water for our tank of Tadpoles, there were Common toads in the Whartons Belt pond, Blackcap and Chiff Chaff singing, Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma flying.

Sunday 12th April, 8 - 9.30 am
Walked from Holme toilet block to conifers and back. Highlight was a male Ring Ousel, which was almost the first bird I saw as it flew out of cover on the golf course and landed for just long enough for me to get scope on it, then flew into top of bush by path before disappearing. Also had Chiff Chaffs didn't count these but heard 4 - 6 singing, A Cetti's by the NWT entrance gate. Swallow 3 singles west.

Titchwell Marsh
A quick half hour here with one male Red Crested Pochard on Patsys Pool, 2 - 4 Marsh Harriers, 2 Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk, Chiff Chaffs, and two Cetti's.
Little Bunting

Male Redstart

Tuesday 14th April
Stopped at Choseley Drying Barns on way to and from work, dipped on both visits on Dotterel, but did year tick Wheatear (5)

Thursday 23rd April
Two visits to Snettisham coastal park [lunch time and after work], scored Little Bunting, a rather smart male Redstart, heard a Cuckoo, heard / saw White throat, Lesser Whitethroat, Swallow, Yellow Wagtail, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Chiff Chaff, Cettis 2 - 3, Med Gull 2. Rather good!

Friday 24th April
River Yare in Norwich, small Pond by the Cow Tower a basking terrapin, suspect 3 present.
Subsequent correspondence with a Herpetologist friend
"I was not sure of the Turtle as it does not resemble the normal Red Ear  Trachemys scripta elegans or the Yellow bellied Slider Trachemys scripta scripta. The trouble is there are a lot of subspecies in the USA & Mexico and going down Central America plus some species in the West Indies but managed to find photos of a lot of these and nothing had the WIde yellow Y mark well away from the eye coupled with the thinner line of red together with radial yellow stripes on the shell. I did think of an intergrade or hybrid and sent the photos to an expert over in Denmark who wrote the main document on the species in Europe as an Invasive alien who has said he is certain that it is a hybrid between Trachemys scripta scrripta and Trachemys scripta elegans.

Saturday 25th April
Pensthorpe Natural Park for Wild About the Wensum with the family. An uncomfortably busy day but did manage to year tick Common Tern and a male Orangetip.

Sunday 26th April
Titchwell Marsh, a morning walk turned up a Spotted Redshank in summer plumage, two Little Ringed Plover, a Common Sandpiper, one adult Gannet and four Eider's offshore, a single Cettis seen well, plus Blackcap, Chiff Chaff, Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, and a Grasshopper Warbler reeling from a small willow by Patsy's Pool.

Choseley Drying Barns
Finally connected with the Dotterel, two females and a male very distant views of them in a ploughed field.

Thursday 30th April
A walk to a meeting through St James's Park in London, picked up a Ring Necked Parakeet on call, feeding in London Plane tree very well camouflaged.

Ring necked Parakeet