Early Spring highlights


There have been a number of highlights over the last couple of weeks in the village and locally. I and my seven year old assistant were especially pleased with a fine pair of bullfinches on our feeders for the first time in a number of years. My camera was out of play at the time but that extra strong pink of the male bird leaves an image burnt into your memory without need for a camera. I set out down the church farm and Hethersett Hall loop with camera in hand. Early sightings included a pair of displaying buzzards by the Hall and the usual serenade of chaffinches great and blue tits and the now regular chiffchaff.

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Chiffchaff always tricky to get a photo of this leaf warbler that spends most of his time high up and as soon as those leaves are out out of sight.

Next I took a look at the Hall lake on the meadow alongside were jackdaw, rook and a pair of greylag geese and on the lake itself a little grebe and moorhen as well as a pair of coot. This time of year is again the best time along with the winter months to get any real view of the lake from the public highway along kissing alley before the foliage blocks the best views. Tucked in the North side of the lake were two drake teal a very pleasant surprise as there are no current records for this pretty little duck locally.

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Drake teal a smart new addition to the ‘Birds of Hethersett’

I believe the local populations of this small duck are increasing so hopefully these won’t be the last sightings, certainly the national figures show an increase in sightings this year over previous years. With the warm weather raising temperatures there was quite a lot of showing off by the resident mallards which gave an opportunity for  a slightly different photo angle and showed of the brightly coloured speculum feathers which are often hidden.

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Drake mallard looking flash

After the excitement of the hall I wandered back through the centre of the village to see if I could find the now regular tree sparrow. It wasn’t present but had been seen earlier and has been collecting nesting material so with no other tree sparrows about we may see some interesting hybrid tree x house sparrows later in the year.

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Obliging male house sparrow. The bigger the black bib at the front the higher ranking the bird so this handsome fellow is I am afraid fairly low down the pecking order.

The Spring has brought out more than the birds locally so here are a couple of other local highlights to look out for:

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Cowslips now appearing all over the place. Wikipedia quotes the leaves as edible but goes on to list a number of possible unpleasant effects they can have so probably best viewed only.

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Comma Butterfly one of a number of species out and about locally now the weather is warm

Lastly for this week the video highlight which was taken at nearby Marlingford. It had been a quiet set of camera shots on a new site with the camera set on a four foot fence. Initially I thought it was misty but it quickly turned out to be the heavy breathing of a Roe deer who then gets very athletic.

 

 

 

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