Aylmerton Nature Diary

Wednesday 13th April

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One of several Little Owl seen in Felbrigg Park

Spent yesterday in the company of Phil, the President of NENBC and his guest, Dr Manu, head of the A P Leventis Ornithological Research Institute, in Nigeria. We started the day at Felbrigg – where else? and then did a number of local heathland and coastal sites. We had a great day, in the warm sunshine, and found some excellent birds for Manu to add to his growing Norfolk List!

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Dr Manu receiving a prestigious award from The Duke of Edinburgh, in 2014

Apart from the usual array of woodland/wetland birds at Felbrigg, the undoubted highlight were the three, probably four, Little Owl we saw in various spots across the park. On the heath we were lucky enough to find several Dartford Warbler, Woodlark and Stonechat. The first influx of Willow Warbler had arrived and were singing around the carpark. But best of all, returning to our vehicle at the end of a good walk round, a migrant male Redstart was seen and heard briefly (there was also a female reported in the same area) and, whilst searching for these elusive birds, the unmistakable profile of a Cuckoo flew along the western edge of the reserve.

The afternoon was spent at three coastal location, Cley, Weybourne and West Runton. The Mediterranean Gulls showed well on Watling Water – a tick for Manu, before we moved on to walk the coast from Weybourne beach carpark to Kelling Water Meadow and back. There was plenty of ‘migrant action’ on our walk, which included half a dozen Wheatear along the coast and three at the water meadows, ten or more superb Yellow Wagtail at the latter site, including a very colourful Blue-headed Wagtail and an early Whitethroat. Raptors were much in evidence, with a ‘kettle’ of seven Buzzard and a couple of Red Kite. More Wheatear greeted us at West Runton, where there was a lone male Common Scoter off-shore and we had a welcome cuppa with Louisa, at the SeaView Cafe. Our final stop was inland, where I managed to find Manu’s last tick of the day – a pair of Grey Partridge.

A fabulous day spent in very knowledgeable and interesting company. Here are a couple of photos as a memento of the day:

Dartford Warbler, undisclosed location 

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Woodlark, undisclosed location

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Blue-headed Wagtail, in a group of a dozen Yellow Wagtail – unfortunately just out of our NENBC area!

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A nice male Stonechat, one of several birds seen along the coast, between Weybourne and Kelling

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