Almost annually I have been visiting the south west of Britain which gives me the opportunity to see some birds that would be more difficult to see locally. In recent years even long car journeys are more bearable with regular buzzards soaring over head and as you start to hit the traffic bound M25 especially close to the M4 and M40 they are overtaken in numbers and spectacle by red kites. Target bird for this trip for my self and my faithful 6 year old assistant was the raven. Last year my 5 year old assistant had fallen asleep at a critical moment and missed peregrines and ravens at the same time. I am often asked the difference between the blackbirds and crows and anyone who would like pointers click here for a previous post on the subject. Or check out the video below.
This year we were not disappointed as we watched some crows whilst eating ice-creams in the park the crows suddenly took to the air and started to mob a raven which flew overhead. It is easy to see the massive scale of the largest UK passerine when they dwarf the attending crows. The raven is an occasional visitor to Norfolk usually on the coast and most birds will have popped over from the continent rather than traveled across the UK. Whilst away I got the news that another Black bird had been seen just north of Wymondham in the form of not one but two ring ouzels. At this time of year these blackbirds with white collars are migrating through to their breeding ground in the North of Britain and could pop up locally.
Back on patch I took a quick stroll to ensure that no new spring migrants or ring ouzels had turned up. The trees were full of chifchaffs and the occasional blackcap but no sign yet of any other arrivals. I thought I heard a brief snatch of whitethroat but this and all the other warblers will have to wait a little while before they grace the patch list.
Whitethroat definitely coming soon to a hedgerow near you.
Having returned to the village I also took the opportunity to stray away from home and had a quick visit to Holkham Hall I hadn’t intended to do any birding specifically but on arrival I walked along the woods to the East of the hall and was treated to the drumming, not of the common great spotted woodpecker but its rarer lesser spotted woodpecker cousin. The drumming is noticeably different after spending weeks listening to the big boys banging heads against the local trees. Unfortunately I couldn’t get close enough to see it for fear of disturbing the local residents so I leave you with their picture instead.
Fallow deer looking idyllic however they wont be on the target list for the Norfolk bird Race just the woodpecker.
The Race is not until the 30th April in the meantime check out the following link for more information on the race and Wader Quest the conservation organisation benefiting from money raised by this years race.