Monday, 25 May 2020

Slowing unlocking

Where to begin! Well, let's start where I left off. I'd reached #85 on my '5kmsfromhome' list but I knew that adding more was going to take effort and luck. I took Monday 11th May off and cycled to the very edge of my 5 kilometer circle. This took me out into open countryside where I added Yellowhammer, Red Kite and Sand Martin thereby bringing me to #88.

Red Kite, Colney, Norwich - 11 May 2020
For most of the rest of week, the wind was a cold north-easterly, which didn't help matters. A lifting of restrictions from Wednesday 13th May meant no limit on the amount of daily exercise and allowed people to drive to exercise. But, in reality it didn't change that much and much all as I would have liked to bird the coast that weekend we decided that small coastal locations like Happisburgh and Walcott might not be ready to receive visitors that soon.
On Friday evening I drove up to Buxton Heath. I had one churring Nightjar at dusk but it shut-up quite quickly as the wind picked up and the temperature dropped. On Sunday I cycled to Buxton Heath with Nick via Marriott's Way. Nick was using phermone lures to attract Large Red-belted Clearwing (at which he was successful). I wandered around the paths hoping in vain to stumble upon a roosting Nightjar, the very definition of 'a needle in the haystack'. I did enjoy the site of two Cuckoos squabbling over the best singing branch though.
That night local birder Will Soar was awoken in the early hours by a singing Quail at Bowthorpe Marsh. I walked down there on Monday evening around 9pm in hope rather than expectation and was delighted when the bird starting singing at 9.30pm. Will's excellent find brought my total to #89!
It got even better the following evening when Stuart White posted on the Whatsapp group that he thought he had a Corncrake at Thorpe Marshes. Stuart is a very competent birder so I headed over to Thorpe Marshes more or less straight away and only needed to wait 10 minutes before the bird craked loudly from a rather perfect looking nettle bed. Thorpe Marshes is approximately 7 kilometers from home as the Corncrake flies so I couldn't add this to my list but so what, a great bird to see or hear anywhere.
The rest of the week was quiet. I stopped off at East Wretham Heath on the way home from work on Friday to see if any Redstarts had managed to find their way there this year but strong winds put paid to that. In fact Saturday and Sunday were very blustery and it was only today Monday where I felt it was worth going out.
I returned to East Wretham Heath and decided to walk part of Peddar's Way towards the A11. All I could see / hear were Blackcaps so I turned back towards the heath where upon I met several birders following up on a report of a singing Golden Oriole. Whilst I didn't see or hear anything like that myself, I did have three singing male Redstarts - much to my delight. Photos are a bit ropey but at least its proof that there are at least three birds on the reserve in song (I heard there are in fact four - which is great news).

Three different singing Common Redstarts - East Wretham Heath - 25 May 2020
I also had several singing Woodlarks and total of four Cuckoos during the morning (two at East Wretham and two more near Santon Downham).

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