16 March 2009

A super Sunday...

Saturday, in Thetford, had been a good day out but yesterday was a much better morning! And I was birding within my 10-mile zone again too. I set the alarm for 6:45AM but didn’t need it - I was out of bed and having breakfast by 6:30AM.

Unfortunately, in blog terms, we have now reached the time of year when some of my birding details become a little vague. I’d hate for anything I post here to endanger the breeding success of the birds I come across so I’ll be a little less specific at times.

So, back to Sunday morning. I set off with the intention of finding my 2009 bogey bird, a Jay. It goes without saying that once again I failed. By the time I returned home at the end of the morning I had managed to locate 8 new species for the “10-Mile List” so the missed Jay was soon forgotten, for now! The glorious weather helped lift my spirits even more - it really was an altogether pleasant day.

In four hours of birding I recorded a total of 56 species. For the “10-Mile List” Ringed Plover, Linnet and Chiffchaff were all located within minutes of each other and a Swallow gave brief views as it flew through. Other birds of note included half a dozen Wigeon, 14 Gadwall, 2 Oystercatcher, both Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker, numerous Skylark in full song, a mixed flock of Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits and a male Yellowhammer that looked absolutely stunning in the early morning sunshine. A pair of Bullfinch were busy ripping the leaf buds off a hawthorn bush and a male Reed Bunting drove me mad with its non-stop calling. Is it just me or does anyone else find the call of Reed Bunting rather tedious?

Ringed Plover.

With the zone list now at 102 for the year it was time to move on to my second location of the day. Here, I came across two more Chiffchaff almost as soon as I got out of the car and moments later came close to being hit by a pair of Kingfishers that were chasing each other around for the next hour or so. Red-legged Partridge was the next new bird of the year when a pair took off almost from under my feet as I crept along a hedgerow to get better views of a large goose flock. Luckily, the partridges didn’t spook the geese too much and I was able to get a count of 92 Greylag Geese, 35 Canada Geese and a single Pink-footed Goose. There’s no way of being certain but I’d imagine the Pink-footed is the same one I saw at Staunton Harold Reservoir back on January 4.

Pink-footed Goose.

Ducks seen included 88 Wigeon, 6 Teal, a female Pochard, 23 Tufted Duck and 3 Goldeneye. Two Buzzards gave a superb display as they soared together overhead and a male Kestrel made a number of unsuccessful hunting attempts before giving up and perching on a fence post. Four Oystercatcher spent all of the time I was on site falling out with each other, very loudly, and a small number of Lapwing were displaying.

A Little Ringed Plover made it onto the “10-Mile List” as species number 104 and was quickly followed by a Common Sandpiper and a White Wagtail. Just like last year, White Wagtail is still not a BOU British species but, like last year, this is MY game with MY rules! I list it! To finish off the morning I walked back to the car via a more wooded area and picked up Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit and Blue Tit and another superb male Yellowhammer. Whilst putting all my gear back in the car I was visited by a couple of Chaffinch and a House Sparrow that were obviously after an easy meal - they were out of luck as I’d already eaten my two cereal bars!

The “10-Mile List” has now reached 106 species for the year.


  1. Nic (Birdnerdblog)16 March, 2009 21:23

    Two great reads there, and some lovely photos!
    Glad you had a good trip, and got some great birds.
    P.S. You big wimp! Snakes are pretty! ;-)

  2. :-) Never have liked snakes... never will!

    Wimp? Guilty as charged! :-)

  3. I agree with Nic. Snakes are pretty ;-)

  4. Pretty? Flowers are "pretty"!

    Snakes are NOT!