Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Turtle Doves return.

It was another busy day yesterday. After my husband spotted some ewes wagging their tails and stamping their feet in distinctive fashion we spent my afternoon break dagging and fly treating the group. Dagging is the term for trimming all the mucky bits from sheep's bottoms, yesterday with the added yuck factor of clusters of maggots. As the weather warms up this is a regular sheep farming hazard which we had escaped so far this year until today due to the chill spring. However the warmth also brought out the first Large Red Damselfly of the year in one of the more sheltered dykes near the house. The Water Soldiers in this dyke were on parade at the surface so there should be Norfolk Hawkers soon but further out on the marsh they are still submerged waiting for the water to warm up.
I was just getting ready to return to work when my husband returned from the school run and announced he had just seen a pair of Turtle Doves just a few hundred yards up the road. I turned right out of our drive instead of left for work  and stopped the car where he had seen them but there was no immediate sign. Then I noticed a dove perched on a telephone line further down the road but a Collared Dove flew out of the hedge near me, flew towards it and landed next to it. However the first bird was smaller and, retrieving my bins from the boot of the car, Turtle Dove became the 112th Patch bird of the year to my great delight. I continued around the loop to get back to my route to work and to my surprise came across another pair of Turtle Doves much further round. A bit like buses you wait ages and 3 turn up at once!
After work I trundled down the A12 to Kensington Gardens in Lowestoft to see the Red-breasted Flycatcher that had been found that afternoon. This was only my second spring RBF and gave excellent views picking insects from the underside of freshly opened sycamore leaves. Always a delightful bird to see, it appeared browner on the back than the autumn birds I usually see and the throat had a peachy wash.
Today after work I checked our nestboxes which I'm monitoring for the BTO nestbox challenge. Only 12 of our 28 boxes are occupied and the broods are small ranging from just 2 chicks to a maximum of 7, a reflection maybe of the poor winter and cold spring. Finding the boxes in our alder wood became an ordeal as the nettles are waist high in there and I managed to get lost, ending up ploughing through the nettles wearing thin trousers. My legs are still tingling all over as I type.
A walk around the marsh tonight was quiet but I managed to get this shot of one of the many Chinese Water Deer that thrive out here

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