Aylmerton Nature Diary

Centenary Edition

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Big Sit ‘Base Camp’ – Felbrigg Park, at dawn

Sunday was the day of the NENBC ‘Big Sit’. We had five locations in operation across our recording area, including Felbrigg Park. The basic idea of a ‘Big Sit’ is that you choose your spot and sit in it, usually from dawn till dusk, and see how many bird species you can identify. On a good day a walk through Felbrigg will produce around fifty species, so the challenge of remaining static for the entire time, albeit for longer, would suggest that we’d be doing well to see that many during the course of the day. Things got off to a difficult start at 05.00, apart from being little more than zero degrees, due to the thick mist which prevented us seeing more than a few yards in front of us. Even from our chosen vantage point of The Warren, the lake was obscured from view. Eventually, as the sun came up, things began to improve and we started adding birds to the day list. The splendid male Wood Duck was in it’s usual place on the dam wall (not that it counted towards our total, being of ‘unknown origin’). Mandarin, which does count, was soon added along with most of the anticipated water birds. Gradually we were able to add the smaller species as they were encouraged to sing by the increasing warmth of the morning sun. Then it was the turn of the raptors, as we systematically ticked off Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Red Kite, Sparrowhawk and Hobby. The afternoon’s activities were mostly confined to talking to the regular trickle of curios passers-by. The evening brought a fresh supply of observers (and beer!) and the last few species were added – closing the list on 70, with Grey Heron at about eight thirty. Not a bad effort all round!

This posting brings up the ‘100th’ since I started back in September last year, covering 114 species – not a bad effort for a small parish patch!


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