16 March 2008

Thetford trip...

Weather forecasts... I’m sure they were invented just to confuse me! The rain that should have made a mess of yesterday's birding trip never materialised - well, not until we were safely back on the coach and on the way home - and we enjoyed a pleasant, but overcast, day

The bird list for the day got underway whilst we waited for the coach to arrive at the pickup point, in Derby. The pair of Peregrine that are resident on Derby Cathedral gave good views with one bird perched on the cathedral whilst the other did repeated "flyovers" for the crowd below. Other birds seen on the way to Thetford included Wigeon, Fieldfare and Red-Legged Partridge.

Looking for Woodlark - two landed behind me as I took this photo!

Our first stop of the day was Santon Downham, a regular venue for our RSPB outings. Bird highlights here were, for me, Woodlark (two birds giving very good views), Brambling, Siskin, Marsh Tit and a single Chiffchaff. The Chiffchaff was a welcome find as it was my first spring migrant of the year.

A couple of the lambs out grazing the heath.

Another sign of the arrival of spring was the number of lambs out grazing the heath. The 2½ hours spent walking the heath and woodland of Santon Downham gave us a total of 33 species.

All Saints Church, Santon.

Lynford Arboretum was our second site of the day, another favourite with our RSPB group. The arboretum is one of the more reliable sites in the country to see Hawfinch and we were not to be disappointed as Lynda and I were able to see a group of four of these very shy finches. Other woodland species located here included Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Coal Tit and more Siskin.

Have you ever looked REALLY close at the colours of a Mallard?

Out on the water of the, now restored, gravel pit lakes the birds included Greylag Goose, Great Crested Grebe, Goosander, Pochard, Shelduck, Egyptian Goose, Kingfisher and Oystercatcher.

Two and a half hours in the arboretum saw Lynda and I pick up a total of 40 species. More importantly, we returned to the coach after a very pleasant day birding without getting wet! The rain started to fall a very short time after we left the car park!

Spring in Lynford Arboretum.

Including the Peregrine seen in Derby, and a few birds seen from the coach on the way to Thetford, we located a total of 54 species. It is not the biggest day count we have ever had but then again it's not every day we get to see Woodlark, Brambling AND Hawfinch!

Today, I awoke to the sound of heavy rain and strong wind. I stayed in bed for an extra couple of hours! By early afternoon the rain had stopped but the wind was still very strong so I decided against any local birding.

Next weekend I have 3½ days off work so if the weather is okay I’ll have plenty of time to chase after birds for my local "10-Mile List". I’ll not be trusting the weather forecast though!

1 comment:

  1. Once again the two of you managed to capture beautiful colours on your camera. I don't recall our mallards being that vibrant. Love the little lambs. I wonder if they taste as good as they look LOL.