Aylmerton Nature Diary

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Thursday 30th July

It was raining as I made my way to Felbrigg Hall this morning, for a meeting with their Estates staff, to discuss the arrangements for some bird walks they’d like me to do for them. Watch this space for further details! By the time we’d finished the sun had come out so I decided to have a walk aroundĀ the Lake. Little new or of interest on the water meadow or the lake for that matter, just a nice mixture of hirundineĀ feeding over the water and a dozen or so Mallard. I did come across a newly fledged family party of Blackcap. The only distraction coming up the lane was a gathering of Greenfinch – which is always good to see.


Just had a message from Nigel to say that he saw an Otter walking up the road by Aylmerton Village Pond this lunch time – oh wow! Presumably the same individual as I saw on Felbrigg Lake, a few days ago. Keep your eyes peeled and please slow down if you’re passing the pond!


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Sunday 26th July



Otter, Felbrigg Lake

Apart from the NENBC mid-week walk ten days ago, today was my first visit to Felbrigg Park in nearly three weeks. This unusually long absence being due to an excursion to France to watch Le Tour but also, more recently, to a nasty eye injury which has pretty much prevented me from doing any bird watching. Anyway I’m now on the mend and the early morning sun was enough encouragement for me to venture out. The recent rain falls have resulted in lush vegetation and muddy paths across the estate. There were plenty of the usual woodland birds about, many attending young – mostly second broods, which is encouraging. I’d just reached the shoreline of the lake by the reed bed when I noticed some disturbance to the water, a brief glimpse of something dark swirling in the water and then, there it was, an OTTER fishing for it’s breakfast! I’ve heard reports of Otter in Felbrigg before but never been lucky enough to connect – wow! I watched it for a while as it gradually made it’s way towards the dam – mostly I could see the stream of air bubbles but occasionally it did come to the surface and then, as quickly as it had appeared, it just vanished. There were very few ducks on the lake, just a dozen or so Mallard in ‘eclipse’ and what I take to be a pair of Mandarin, also in heavy moult – there’s no indication that either bird is a youngster. To complete my morning stroll, a lovely pair of Roe Deer were grazing in the water meadow on my homeward journey. I couldn’t have had a more delightful return to the ‘home patch’!

More Otter shots..




Roe Deer grazing on the water meadow






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Dragons’ Den

A selection of more Dragonfly photos taken recently at Felbrigg:

Broad-bodied Chaser, female


Red-veined Darter


Black-tailed Skimmer, male


Emperor, male


Lesser Emperor (subject to any alternative identification!)


Four-spotted Chaser, male