Sunday 26 April 2015

Keeping it local

I used the longer day light hours to check a few places after work each evening last week. Truth be told though I was a little disappointed with the seemingly low number of migrants so far on breeding territory.
I checked East Wretham Heath three times last week and up to Friday evening there were no Common Redstarts present (from what I could see / hear). Marston Marshes also seemed dead with the odd Blackcap and Chiffchaff being all there was to liven things up. Colney GP / Bawburgh Fisheries was about the same although a single Common Swift consorting with a mixed hirundine flock was my earliest record yet of this species in either Ireland or the UK.

Common Swift - Colney GP, Norwich - 21 April 2015
Not far from Colney, a Nightingale continues to sing but as usual evades all attempts to be photographed or even seen. I had a brief glimpse one evening but no more. At times it sang within ten feet but I couldn't see it - frustrating but remarkable all the same. I took the following movie clip (click on the link) with my iphone - not exactly a state-of-art microphone but you get the picture (or sound in this case)!

The unseen songster

Resisting all offers to travel over-night to the Scilly Isles for a certain Great Blue Heron, I awoke fresh and rested on Saturday morning and set-out for Colney GP to search for more Nightingales and other arrivals. Things seemed to have picked up with a Garden Warbler singing from a Whitethorn bush just as I entered through the steel gates. I spent the next five hours in the area and had two more Garden Warblers, at least one Common Whitethroat, numerous Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs and three Reed Warblers. Mid-afternoon produced bird of the day with this fly-over Hobby.

Hobby, Colney GP, Norwich, 25th April 2015
En route home I checked the Nightingale spot where the bird remains..........singing from deepest cover, of course!
Sunday was definitely cooler but a walk around Marston Marshes and Eaton Common showed that migrant numbers were up. In total I had five Sedge Warblers, two Grasshopper Warblers, one Common Whitethroat, one Willow Warbler and numerous Blackcaps. Last Thursday I had a brief snatch of Garden Warbler song so I suspect they may be in too. I didn't have much time for photos but managed a reasonable shot of one of the five Sedgies.

Sedge Warbler, Marston Marshes, Norwich - 26th April 2015
While I watching this chap a Grasshopper Warbler began reeling behind me, against the light and slightly obscured by a frond of grass, I managed a quick shot for the record. If time permits I may give these birds a little more time and go for a better shot than this.

Grasshopper Warbler, Marston Marshes, Norwich, 26th April 2015
This coming week is a busy one, but hopefully I'll find time to continue checking the local spots. I would expect the Common Redstarts to finally arrive at East Wretham (fingers crossed) and will continue to check Colney for Nightingales and see what more arrivals reach Marston Marshes. Stay posted!

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