The last couple of weeks has shot by with a variety of highlights and as is often the case I started the Holiday period with a trip to local wildlife hotspot Pensthorpe. The reserve sits on the Wensum valley and is a great barometer for the season and often highlights what can be seen turning up locally as well as some more exotic residents. The first few birds were expected with an assortment of wildfowl and an obliging jackdaw alongside sparrows, chaffinches, pied wagtails etc.
Out in the reserve spring was very much on show with singing chiffchaff and a half hearted willow warbler and cettis warbler showing off their vocal skills. Last week also saw my first willow warbler locally at Marlingford which whilst not as obliging as the jackdaw at least stayed still long enough for a record shot.
First Willow warbler of the year and hopefully at least one will turn up in Hethersett after last years poor showing.
Also on the reserve were my first baby birds of the year with their proud mum. Presumably there will also be some of these locally although I have not seen them yet.
Mother Mallard presumably imparting some advice to some of her very new brood.
Pensthorpe has been in lockdown recently with control measures to prevent bird flu but things are just getting back to normal and a couple of flyovers by a white stork were proof of this and suitably spectacular. Free flying white storks in Norfolk both here and Thrigby tend to confuse and occasionally irritate the hardened birdwatcher as to their origins but when observed just for the spectacle they offer nothing but pleasure.
Elegant white stork sitting on a rudimentary nest on top of a Pensthorpe slide presumably tired from delivering baby elephants with long ears and ducklings and such like.
Also last week I dipped into RSPB Strumpshaw to ensure my 7 year old assistant got her fill of the special laid on Easter Nature trail and quiz which as usual delighted and did not disappoint. The trip was noteable again for a spring first a house martin one of many no doubt heading for the county and it danced around a male marsh harrier almost for sport. The reserve was alive with the sound of blackcaps and chiffchaffs singing in the spring despite the variable weather.
Guest photo of the day courtesy of S Parkin a Marsh harrier hawking the Strumpshaw reed beds.
Today I returned to strumpshaw and the number of warblers and intensity in song was increasing including the first reed warbler of the year and some uber cute greylag goslings. Alas no photo of the fluffy yellow chaps but instead my favourite trail cam video of the year just waiting to go viral and a clear sign that cold of winter is behind us.
And tonight just as I was thinking the winter had passed by I was out visiting the local shop when a flock of whistling ducks flew through the velvet night sky over head towards their summer quarters in Northern Europe. I could only identify the by their call but there is something magical in witnessing this migration flight of these natural wonders even if it is only their out of place calls..