Aylmerton Nature Diary

Sunday 17th July

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Fresh male Common Darter – my first for Felbrigg this year

At last, some decent warm weather to accompany my morning walk, with the anticipated upturn in the number of butterflies and dragonflies around the park. There were several Gatekeepers on the brambles along the middle path to the lake and I noticed a family party of Moorhen on the small pond, north of the water meadow. I looked up to see two falcons overhead, speeding towards the lake – Hobby I thought, though one appeared noticeably browner than the other. They quickly disappeared behind the trees. I carried on ‘dragon spotting’ with Emperor, Four-spotted Chaser and my first Common Darter at Felbrigg this year. Over the rough grazing meadow, between the top sluice and the Forge, several Small Skipper and an impressive Brown Hawker. As I got to the dam, I could see an adult Hobby sat in the dead trees near the viewing screen, which quickly took off, did a round of the lake, before disappeared over the trees to the west. A little further round and I saw another bird semi-hidden in the Alders. Eventually it too took flight and seemed to be a little browner than the first bird. I watched it, though at quite some distance across the lake, for ten minutes or so, during which time it did a couple more hunting forays. The overall impression of the bird in the field and an analysis of some rather average photos, suggesting to me that it was a 1st summer bird. It’s somewhat surprising that these birds only nested for the first time in Norfolk just thirty years ago.

Probably 1st summer Hobby, Felbrigg Lake

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The noticeably pale fringes to some of the upper primaries and coverts suggesting a sub-adult bird?

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Small Skipper

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