Aylmerton Nature Diary

Sunday 3rd April

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One of three Shoveler, which paid a flying visit to the water meadow this morning

I spent most of yesterday morning leading a local group on a bird walk. We managed to find 48 species in Felbrigg Park, including several singing Chiffchaff, displaying Sparrowhawk & Buzzard, a pair of Long-tailed Tit nest-building, Mandarin Duck, Snipe, several Treecreeper and a grand total of eight Coot. The weather was lovely and the whole thing was rounded off with a family lunch at the NT cafe – perfect!

This morning I was out reasonably early, hoping to find more arriving Spring migrants – alas without success. There were four Siskin in the neighbours tree and a superb male Bullfinch in the hedge down The Street. The Barn Owl was at the bottom end of the rough grazing meadow, before flying into the park, where it joined what I presume was it’s mate, along the shelter belt. Later I saw what I assume was a third bird, hunting over the rough grazing below the dam. I witnessed a pair of Jackdaw prospecting for nest sites, in the old oaks between the Hall and the lake, close to where Barn Owl have previously bred. There’s much competition for this sort of location in the park. I was looking over the Scarrow Beck, where it flows through the grazing meadow, when I saw, first one and then a second, male Mandarin, followed by a female. On the water meadow – the levels of which still look particularly high, there was the usual small group of Teal, a couple of male Gadwall, Coot and three Shoveler – two males and a female, which flew in from the south and stayed for about an hour, before finally being flushed. I noticed that the young ‘polish’ Mute Swan has finally been ousted by the parents and is currently languishing on the water meadow. I did wonder how long they were going to tolerate it hanging around. No sign of any hirundine, Ring Ouzel or that first singing Blackcap – oh well, there’s always tomorrow!

The group of three Shoveler arriving from the south this morning

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The ousted young ‘polish’ Mute Swan

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Four of yesterday’s total of eight Coot, squaring up

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