Saturday, 28 September 2013

All quiet on the eastern front

With Shetland seemingly drowning under a flood of rare birds and strong easterly winds down here it seemed reasonable to expect something interesting to turn up in Norfolk. Multiple mega-alerts for distant Brown Shrikes was starting to get somewhat annoying. There was however the small problem of bright sunshine and clear blue skies, excellent migrating conditions. Two walks around my patch during the day in the hope of a Yellow-browed Warbler or two turned out to be very quiet indeed. Things looked a little hopeful when a small party of about 6 Redwings dropped out of the sky into our wood but that was it as far as migrants were concerned. A singing Chiffchaff made it feel quite spring-like whilst the Swallow babies left the nest today adding a summery touch.

There are still good numbers of swallows about, unusually for very late September.
The scrape had a Green Sandpiper which seems to have taken up residence as my husband saw it yesterday too and I flushed a single Snipe from the muddy edge of another of our dykes.
Insects provided the most interest with a plum tree attracting the best showing of Comma butterflies of the whole year. The Commas are feeding on the sugary juices of the last few plums on the tree, a far preferable insect to the numerous wasps that largely devastated the crop a few weeks ago.

I also found a Large Red Underwing moth roosting on the side of the girls' now emptied inflatable swimming pool. Evolution has clearly equipped the moth with the instinct to roost on something upright assuming that upright things are usually trees against which it will be perfectly camouflaged. It hadn't anticipated the modern world and colourful plastics.

In my hunt for a patch tick I went through a roosting flock of gulls on a recently ploughed field near the house. There surely had to be a Med Gull amongst all the Black-headeds as we are only about 8 miles as the gull flies from the Med Gull mecca of Great Yarmouth? Sadly the short answer was no. They clearly prefer eating chips on the sea-front to grovelling around after worms in a muddy field.

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