A week of wild days, the highlights.


It has been another seven days of #30Dayswild and as I anticipated they have been very busy and whilst I have ensured some relatively random wild time I have started to loose track of what happened on which days.

One of my favourites this week came courtesy of the Wymondham Lizards Facebook site Those in the know will understand that the lizard is not reptilian but a precious patch of wildmeadow on the edge of a growing town. The expansion and specifically earthworking as preparation for encroaching houses has lead to a temporary treat worth seeing.

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The Lizard and its temporary sea of Red

Whilst making the most of a sunny lunchtime to grab some poppy shots I was treated to a variety of singing birds. Blackcaps and whitethroats were the most common with an occasional crow or magpie bustling their way through the hedges perhaps in hope of robbing the aforementioned of their young. By far the most obliging singer who dropped down briefly in front of me was a chiffchaff.

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Chiffchaff action shot with some urban encroachment for good measure.

Last weekend I was encouraged by my eight year old assistant to check out a previously unvisited treasure the museum at the market town of Swaffham. It turned out to be a perfectly formed but small offering with its highlight the Egyptian room in honour of ex local Howard Carter there wasn’t a huge amount of wildness however:

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Ancient avian offering

Being in the brecks we did  a quick cross country to see if we could find a local speciality but failed to spot any stone curlews in amongst the midday sun bathing pigs and clouds of rooks and jackdaws. In nearby Little Cressingham we stopped briefly not to photograph the swooping swallows or house martins but instead a Great British Icon:

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Ex BT Phonebox not going to get killed off by  the mobile phone but functioning instead as the village library.

Anyway to get quickly back to the birding this week also saw the final two Breeding Bird Surveys completed one at Wicklewood and one at Wymondham. The Wymondham trek saw the official end to any skylark or brown hare sightings as the aforementioned urban creep has wiped out their homes with ours. There was a brief highlight with a small flock of unexpected housemartins wheeling over the local building site so who knows maybe these chattering black and white sky acrobats will benefit from new nesting sites.

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Skylark now officially missing.

My Wicklewood patch was also strangely quite, usually the skylark highlight of my year but a flyover kestrel appeared to spook them all until he was well gone. The only other really notable event was a murder. Of crows that is, with a flock of 17 mature carrion crows which also did a very good job of keeping the singing warblers quiet.

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Wicklewood treasure wild roses with additional Marmalade hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus to his latin friends) 

Yesterday evening I headed down to local Beauty spot Whitlingham broad thanks to a timely tweet From James Emmerson (checkout his Whitlingham blog HERE) I was fortunate enough to arrive in time for a bat walk with the Norwich Bat Group. (Click on their name to check out their site and other events. As dusk approached the prey items for the bats started tucking into me and I hoped for a lot of bats to assist. An adult bat can eat  between 6 to  8 thousand mosquitos in a night.

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Dusk over Whitlingham with Norwich in the background and lots of swans and mosquitos.

We were soon rewarded with lots of hunting Soprano pipistrelles and then their cousins the common pipistrelle and they obligingly flew around us whilst the light was good enough to see them. picked out next by our bat detectors were noctule bats hunting high over the lake side trees. Also detected but not seen where Daubenton’s bats hunting low over the broad and also the rarer Nathusius’ pipistrelle. A fascinating evening listening to and watching these flying mammals with more details of them and their ultrasonic calls and facts available on the Bat Conservation trust site link Via Hethersetts Bats

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