Aylmerton Nature Diary

Friday 18th March

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One of two pairs of Mandarin, present on Felbrigg Lake this morning

The wind had turned to the north over night and it was drizzling when I set off from home this morning. I could hear a Green Woodpecker in the woods near Sexton’s Lodge, before turning down the still very muddy track, through the shelter belt, towards the lake. Five Greylag were circling overhead when I reached the viewing screen but there appeared to be only the usual assembly of wildfowl present. Then I noticed the male Pochard, hidden in the Tufted flock. Further along the path I disturbed three Mandarin – a male and two females, which swam out from the bank. I watched them for a while before one female separated and started heading for the dam. There she was met by a second male. Both males engaged in the odd bit of courtship behaviour – head bobbing and stretching. All four birds eventually flew off north, towards the Great Wood. The two adult and one young Mute Swan are still about. There were a dozen or so Teal and a pair of Gadwall on the Water Meadow. A second Green Woodpecker called from somewhere in Common Plantation, attracting another (third) bird to fly from the dead oaks, east of the lake, and into the wood.

The original ‘trio’ of Mandarin

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The second male

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On the way back up The Street I noticed, first a Red-legged Partidge and then a handsome cock Pheasant. Two of the lucky ones to have survived the winter slaughter 

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