The short dark days of January have continued apace and I even tried to get my birdwatching fix in by trying a nocturnal walk (around the Wong) but it was owl free and little else moved or squeaked other than some of the local brown hares which I only managed to pick out thanks to my night vision equipment. My less expensive equipment in terms of my ears did pick up the call of a lapwing though and whilst I couldn’t find it in the dark it was unmistakable and as eerie as the roe deer that called further away .
My single calling lapwing was joined by a flock of nearly a hundred birds passing over the outskirts of the village from Thickthorn on Saturday. These birds have been missing from the Birds of Hethersett so it was great to see them and even better to hear that up to 300 birds have been seen in nearby little Melton. Whilst I was catching up with the locals I also found out that I had missed out on a flock of up to 25 Hawfinch also seen locally and the annual great white egret.
Not to be totally at a loss in respect of these birds I had a quick foray out to collect a trail cam. No obvious signs of the birds although plenty of calling nuthatches and great tits where the hawfinches had been. My first sightings were of a trio of flashing white rumps in the form of a pair of bullfinch and then a jay. They all seemed in a hurry as was I. On collecting the camera I allowed myself a quick peek at the lake and there stood on an island in the middle was the bright white form of the Egret a very reasonable year tick for the local patch.
As with half a million other citizen scientists my Big Garden Bird watch scores are in and the totals despite some late feeder filling are goldfinch 2, magpie 1, blackbird 1, collared dove 2, chaffinch 3, jackdaw 1, blue tit 2, house sparrow 1, greenfinch 3, starling 2, wood pigeon 1, dunnock 1, robin 1. All tallied and ID’d by my capable eight year old assistant.
Whilst I am testing out some new video software there will be no video until the next post but instead I offer the following from a recent visit to Pensthorpe.