Aylmerton Nature Diary

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Thursday 18th April

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Ring Ouzel – last of the six thrush species seen yesterday in Felbrigg

Yesterday was Felbrigg walks day, with NENBC mid-week walk in the morning and National Trust bird walk in the afternoon. It was also only my second ‘six thrush species in a day’ at Felbrigg, since publishing this blog. Blackbird was easy enough to get near the carpark, as the NENBC group was assembling. Then came Mistle Thrush singing from it’s usual perch in a dead Oak near the Hall. There were plenty of Song Thrush from the path above the water meadows and, with careful scanning, a dozen or so Redwing in the far pasture. A possible Ring Ouzel here was, unfortunately, not confirmed. On the sheep pastures between the lake and the church another mixed flock containing thirty or so Fieldfare. After coffee (and the NENBC walk had finished!) I strolled down to The Warren where two handsome Ring Ouzel were quietly feeding at the base of the gorse. They were still there in the afternoon, when I took the NT group to look for them. Other highlights during the day included Little Owl, Sand Martin & Swallow and Wheatear – which looked big and bright enough to possibly have been a ‘Greenland type’. Non bird interest was provided by Brimstone & Orange-tip butterflies. In the evening I went to top-up the feeders at Sustead Common and had my first Whitethroat of the year, in the gorse west of the hide.

The other Ring Ouzel near The Warren


Wheatear, between the church and the Hall

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Tuesday 16th April – update


Not today’s bird alas, but my last male Redstart in Felbrigg Park, in early April 2016

With early morning reports from Cromer GC of a dozen or more Ring Ouzel, I was keen to get into the park to see if there were any inland. A few Song Thrush and a lone Fieldfare on the water meadows – a favoured spot for Ring Ouzel – looked promising but, in the end, I failed to find one. Whilst looking from the bridge over the top sluice towards the Hawthorns at the eastern edge of the water meadows, however, I did see a superb male Redstart fly from one bush to another and sit out briefly, before doing a disappearing act. Other birds of interest in the same area included a couple of Brambling, Snipe, several Lapwing, two Oystercatcher and the usual wildfowl. Later in the day the male Peregrine was sitting on Cromer church pinnacles and there were five Fieldfare near The Warren on my return home.

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Tuesday 16th April


Finally managed to catch up with this Spoonbill at Cley yesterday, along with several other year ticks – taken on my iPhone

It was reasonably sunny at Cley NWT yesterday, but still that cold easterly wind continued to blow. Despite the weather, the Spring migrants are still managing to get through in increasing numbers. I missed the Ring Ouzel which put in a brief appearance along the shingle ridge first thing and the five Waxwing opposite the bottom carpark, but I did see Bittern in flight near the cattle-pen east of the board-walk, the Spoonbill, Sandwich Tern and Swallows over the main scrapes and, in the afternoon, a Willow Warbler in Walsey Hills. All, I’m slightly embarrassed to say, were Norfolk year ticks! The Open Day at Sustead Common on Sunday was a leisurely affair but, given the weather – it hailed several times during the morning, considered by most who attended to be and enjoyable and worthwhile event. Spurrell’s Wood is now officially open to the public – please follow the on- site instructions to avoid disturbing the wildlife.

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Saturday 13th April


Daytime roosting Tawny Owl – Felbrigg Park this afternoon

Baltic weather in the park this afternoon. A noticeable increase in Teal numbers on the water meadows – I counted 45. The male Shoveler is still present and there are now a couple of pairs of Coot. The two Tufted Duck on the lake were both hybrid Tufted x Ferruginous. The pair of Oystercatchers were feeding on the grass, east of the lake and there were three Snipe on the water meadows and Paul’s Common. A pair of Red Kite drifted slowly towards Metton Carr. Best bird however was the Tawny Owl, again roosting in a Sweet Chestnut on the edge of the Old Deer Park.

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Friday 12th April


Lapwing on the water meadows – Felbrigg Park

We had a walk in Felbrigg yesterday morning. I was pleased to see that the Lapwing are still present and displaying on the water meadows – could this be the year that they breed successfully? Also, the Linnets have returned to the Gorse on The Warren. The male Shoveler was still present, along with a dozen Teal and a few Gadwall. Plenty of woodland bird activity, with singing Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Nuthatch – but I’ve still not seen a hirundine of any description though in the park this Spring!

Linnets return to The Warren


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Tuesday 9th April

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A terrible photo I know – digi-scoped through the reeds at Cley NWT – Sedge Warbler

The highlight of yesterday’s birding at Cley NWT was this Sedge Warbler – my first of 2019. Other birds of interest included several Little Ringed Plover on the central scrapes, White-fronted and Barnacle Geese (still), a pair of Stonechat near beach carpark and three Eider flying west mid-morning. It’s our last formal Felbeck Trust work-party of the current programme today, before Spurrell’s Wood is finally opened up to the public on Sunday, after more than six months intensive habitat management work.

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Monday 8th April

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Gannets passing Flamborough Head at the weekend

We spent the weekend at Flamborough, on the Yorkshire coast, with Neil and Nicola. There were very few migrants about – much the same as down here I think – but we did see a handful of Sands Martin, and Black Redstart and Firecrest were also reported. The best thing about our trip (apart from catching up with our friends of course!) were the superb views, if you braved the weather, of the auks, Gannet, Kittiwake and Fulmar on the cliffs.

The cliffs at Flamborough – home to thousands of breeding seabirds


Three species of auk breed: Razorbill


Puffin – always good value


and, in amongst the thousands of Guillemot, we found the occasional ‘Bridled’ bird – wearing their lorgnette spectacles


There is a healthy population of Kittiwake


and plenty of Fulmar


You can’t miss these guys on your way to and from the cliffs – Tree Sparrow