Sunday, 27 March 2016

Swallow arrives to blow records out of the water

A Swallow careering over Church Marsh on the 25th was the earliest here by over 2 weeks; my previous record being April the 9th at Church Marsh. Not sure as to a whole patch date with this species, but looking over last year's notes my first Swallow was recorded on the 19th, perhaps a delay here due to the annual Scotland trip, but either way this is a significant record. The bird struggled against the increasing wind for a bit, before heading off north. 42 Teal were on the broad (down from 71 the previous weekend) along with a pair of Shoveler. A Little Egret was fishing at the back of the lagoon, and 2 Heron appeared to be involved in some kind of courtship chase. Throw in a singing Chiffchaff in the carr woodland by the ruins, and dare I say Spring had sprung.

Back in the garden, a pair of Siskin continue to visit the feeders. A Comma Butterfly was another first of the year, basking on a paving slab out the back. I am glad that my first Butterfly of the year was also one of my favourites.

Buzzard numbers seem to be peaking locally. They now appear to outnumber the Kestrel in Norfolk and are without doubt the most commonly recorded Raptor on patch and on the way to work. There are pairs in front and behind the house at Claxton, and I am waiting and watching for nest building activity. Marsh Harriers are around but not so frequent. Bird of Prey highlight goes to a Peregrine which was at Wood's End Marshes on the 19th.

On the 20th, Debs and I were out visiting her dad in North Walsham. We tied in a bit of birding on route. Brambling have been hard to find this Winter, so I was pleased to hear Justin Landsdell had a few over at St. Andrews Business Park. Sure enough, in the old orchard adjacent to brownfield land we found a few of these smart Finches amongst the trees in blossom. We then continued on to Filby Broad, where both the Red-necked and Slavonian Grebes showed distantly but their encroaching summer plumage was obvious, and brilliant.

We are off to Scotland today, back at the end of the week. Nothing in particular in mind, but I am planning a trip out to the west coast this time to give us a better chance of Sea Eagle should Findhorn not deliver. Cannot wait for that aiport pint, guidebook on table and the week at our feet.

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