Autumn is here and although the late summer weather hasn’t worked it out the birds have. The last swallows and house martins are passing through the area and I was treated to a spectacular swirling house martin display this week over some sweet corn being harvested which was obviously throwing up some pre migration delicacies. Around the village the crops of fruit are at their finest with rooks, jackdaws, crows and thrushes feasting and it will not be long before they are joined by their Northern European cousins with redwings and fieldfares arriving next month. Having run around the village today the most notable seasonal bird is the nuthatch with numerous birds calling and occasionally tapping away at autumn seeds.
Nuthatch probably the best time of the year to see them as they wander round the village.
Last Saturday saw low cloud break the otherwise steady sunshine and the skies were filled above the village by the prehistoric calling of two grey herons looping overhead. I ran to get my binoculars just to check them out just as they dissapeared into the low cloud which gave the last one the appearance of being all white. We are not far off the usual time of year for the Great white egret to drop into its usual haunts between Marlingford and Bowthorpe so I took an opportunity to double check my WEBS sites in the area this week.
Grey heron. Plenty of these locally suggesting a good breeding year.
The beauty of birding and particularly on my WEBS site is that it is the you never quite know what you are going to get. The early walking was punctuated by dragonflies hawking around me and the occasional contact call from late chiffchaffs. I sat down to some serious scrutiny of one of the local lakes and in amongst the growing number of gulls and cormorants and huge rafts of geese and ducks there was plenty of spectacle but little out of the ordinary. With over 150 greylag geese and 50 canada geese it was perhaps no surprise that three of the canadas turned out to be this years hybrid canada x greylag. whilst picking through the ducks including the first good numbers of teal and tufted duck a stranger popped into view. There aren’t many birds I can’t put a name to so this one needed the trusty Iphone out to grab a digiscoped record shot through the telescope.
The big red ducky goose thing in the centre of the shot surrounded by greylag geese a lapwing and a grey heron turned out to be a Fulvous Whistling Duck.
Whilst I haven’t seen too much by the way of UK rarities this year my obscure ornamental list is certainly growing. The latest whistling duck edition is fairly wide spread if you live in South america, the southern US, Sub Saharan Africa or India but not a normal sighting for Norfolk although clearly someone has one missing from their local collection.
The walk home provided me with an opportunity to get close to some of the four legged locals with a young roe deer and its mother feeding on lush riverside grass and initially oblivious to my presence giving me a have decent chance of a photo with my 300mm lens despite the poor light.
Cute if somewhat environmentally destructive young roe deer
Now attentive mother deer.
The inevitable conclusion of them seeing me. The end(s)