Saturday 24th April
An impromptu evening visit to Swanton Morley after a few days break showed that a significant number of sumer visitors had arrived. On getting out of the car and looking toward Holkham Lake a Common Tern was immediately seen (later joined by another). A flock of mixed hirundines caught my attention and amongst them ( c 50 birds) 8 Swifts were located! Walking toward the Pump Pit a Little ringed Plover flew over calling. Then a walk around the lake soon produced my first Garden Warbler of th year, singing away between two Blackcaps. A single Sedge was heard, quickly followed by a lively Reed Warbler. A White-ish Wagtail was located among pre-roost Pieds, showing clear demarcation between nape, back and rump (of which the lower rump was black). I wondered what a hybrid might look like!
Sunday 25th April
After yesterday's successful visit, I decided to arrive early and do a count (hoping for some scarcer passage birds to materialise, but they didn't!)
Throughout the morning, 76 species were recorded at Swanton Morley and Sparham combined.
I was amazed at the number of summer breeders that were around, the largest numbers I have probably encountered here.
Totals as follows:
Willow Warbler 19
Chiffchaff 7 (surprisingly low)
Whitethroat 4 (actually quite a good count!)
Sedge Warbler 21
Reed Warbler 5
Garden Warbler 3
Lesser Whitethroat 1 (lowest number in last few visits!)
Other summer breeders to be encountered were; 3 Swift (presumably remnants from yesterday), 25 Swallows and 4 House Martin; 2 Common Tern (still present), Common Sandpiper (same bird as last Tuesday? - the only passage migrant seen at Swanton Morley!) and 3 Shelduck(!) A Turtle Dove purred from the same location as last year and a small number of Lesser Black-backed Gulls were overhead.
The pair of Barn Owls were both seen, with the female hunting and the male 'at roost'.
At Sparham there were a number of migrants that I hadn't yet encountered there this year, including; Reed and Garden Warbler and both Common and Lesser Whitethroat; as well as 3 Swift. A Sand Martin colony was located just outside the patch area and 2 Little Ringed Plover ad Green Sandpiper were both still present. A Cuckoo called and was perched on wires briefly. The best bird of the day flew through strongly NW up the valley, a pristine Arctic Tern.
A return to Swanton Morley to recover my car produced a calling Cuckoo and the Pied-ish Wagtail (White-ish y'day - but DA thinks it's a Pied and who am I to argue!)
Monday 26th April
A brief visit back to Swanton Morley mid afternoon, interestingly produced a greater number of Lesser Whitethroat singing, as well as both Garden and Reed Warbler numbering 5 + each, along with fewer numbers of Sedge Warbler (and not just because of the time of day). The hybrid Goose is still present.
Two grotesque Muscovy Ducks were seen in Old Buckenham.
Norfolk Bird Info to:
Mobile: 07749779149 Norfolk
376 UK400, 364 BOU, Year 188, Route 138, Sp 105, SM 107, SF 50