Winter birding home and away

There has been a delay since the last post but not this time due to distractions of a busy unrelenting modern world but due to the editorial team taking a well deserved break to relax amongst the wonders of a less modern world.


Difficult not to be moved by the grandeur of ancient Rome

Keen eyed ornithologists will have noticed the soaring bird life in the photo above which has watched the ebb and flow of empires. The birds in the picture are yellow legged gulls and they were joined by other occasional UK birds in the form of monk parakeets and hooded crows as well as the staple feral pigeon.


Close up and personal the yellow legged gull occasionally seen in Norfolk hotspots but not yet recorded in the birds of Hethersett.

Back on the local patch the winter weather has been interspersed with an occasional fine morning which has allowed some farmland survey work including some of the fields west of the village around Market Lane. My recent visit started with mammals as soon as I arrived in market lane with three of the local roe deer crossing the fields boldly as though without a care in the world. I kicked of near a steaming pile of compost and sitting on top was a skylark which took off and dragged up behind it the rest of a flock of 15 birds which made a good start.


One of 15 beautiful skylarks

As I continued walking I soon started to pick up some first for the year including an early drumming great spotted woodpecker and a flock of siskin. I also saw a number of impressive flocks of woodpigeon including one of 400 birds no doubt including some continental birds brought across the North Sea by colder weather elsewhere.

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Winter visitor to the village a male siskin.

I picked up a couple of unexpected flocks of ducks over the fields including mallard and teal which had obviously been overnighting at some of the local fishing ponds. In the summer I had taken the same route and seen a number of brown hare but the bare patch of earth they had scampered across was now a winter seed crop with a host of feeding chaffinch and blackbirds. My walk ended to the sound of buzzards and a very healthy calling pair of marsh tits doubtless full of seed from my local feeding station. Last birds of the day were a fast moving flock of fluffed up long tailed tits and this is the best I could manage in terms of a photo.

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Earlier this week I did spend half an hour at my feeding station hoping to get some close ups of the locals and managed the following in the soft afternoon light.


Great tit fresh from feeding


Hastily snatched shot of a Nuthatch new to the feeder

 Video for this post is from the BTO and partners and a reminder of how to tell your siskins from your serins should you need it.



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