Evening encounters


Last week saw me take my nature time in the evenings after long working days and I started with another special visit to see the villages barn owl family. They had been out and about  the previous evening since 9.30pm but the only thing ariel at that time was the local pipistrelle population. Fortunately after half an hour they came out of their nest box and from the trees they had been hiding in and three youngsters flitted to and fro on silent wings but alas too late for my camera.

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Day time barn owl.

 Barn owl Credit: Ged neill Flickr via Compfight cc

I also lucked out on the local kingfisher  which had turned up earlier in the barn owl domain so the following evening I headed out to the West Hethersett loop in an attempt to catch up with my Hethersett bogey bird. The evening kicked off with more bats with up to half a dozen soprano Pipistrelles hunting around me so close you could hear their supersonic calls and the clatter of their wings.

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Blurry bat with non blurry but very invasive Himalayan Balsam (I believe)

The Great Melton reservoir was almost devoid of wildfowl or they were asleep in cover but a solitary moorhen called and a few wood pigeons clattered about. Eventually a shrill piping announced a late kingfisher who flashed past.

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Kingfisher Credit: Blake Wardle DPAGB Flickr via Compfight cc

Whilst the kingfisher was zooming out of sight I was drawn to another cry and high over head was a little egret picked out with the assistance of my binoculars. This elegant heron has waited several years to make it into the village list and saw me having to update the Birds of Hethersett. Also added was another village first this year, heard in the late spring on one night only near the village hall a nightingale. Here’s hoping both birds start to make it a bit more regularly.

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Elegant little egret

With its elegant plumage the Little Egret makes it on to the parish list.A further evening walk at nearby Marlingford added to my weeks treats with a common sandpiper and large counts of muntjac deer crashing through the undergrowth at every turn. I was also to get some more kingfisher action as a walk down to Hethersett Hall lake produced a single calling bird which briefly stopped and bobbed up and down on a low branch in front of me. Also just visible through the undergrowth a pair of little grebes put the seal on another crepuscular adventure. On arrival home I was met by one of many recently visiting hedgehogs.

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Hedgehog not as pleased to seem me as I was him.

Star of this week’s video is the hedgehog. Locally they seem to be getting an apparent high number of ticks and there is a lot of scratching for hedgehogs to do, often with comic consequences. Featuring a young and slightly embarrassed hedgehog.

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