In a search for something to make up for the least spectacular solar eclipse Hethersett has ever seen; a fine sunshine filled afternoon seemed perfect for a hunt for some spring migrants. Starting West of the Village there were some promising signs with a lot of grey heron activity as they are starting to squabble over nesting spots. Also clearly going about the business of sorting out nesting sites were calling coal tits, chaffinch, goldcrests and family parties of long tailed tits.
Whilst watching a young Roe deer with its mother in the fields near Little Melton Church I also had a fly past of the first stock dove I have seen this year. These are smaller and more delicate than the similar coloured woodpigeons which were about in their dozens. the stock dove also has no white wing or neck patches that are so obvious on the woodpigeons.
The fields currently with their short growth were also great for spotting the tell tale signs of local sparrowhawks. with a number of notable circles of fluffy white pigeon feathers with the stripped out carcasses in the centre.
The next highlight was a host of chiffchaffs the first of the year and I counted no less than three singing males in the woods around the fishing lake and the Pit. Check out the following video for an excellent lesson on identifying the Chiffchaff and separating it from the slightly later arrival the willow warbler:
This is the best time of year to watch these birds before the leaves come out and hide them. This is the earliest record of their arrival locally and a week earlier than last year.
Other recent sighting in the same area include an unconfirmed account of up to nine buzzards soaring together above the same fields out on the West of the Village. No sign yet of the White Tailed Sea Eagle the UK’s largest bird one of which is still travelling around the county seen today over Gt Yarmouth. The following link is for a recent BBC article on the bird.