Sunday, 27 April 2014

Return to Kessingland and more summer migrants

There was a mild sense of deja-vu when my mobile phone tweeted "Hoopoe at Kessingland NOW" as I lay in bed on Saturday morning. It was another grey morning (why at a weekend?) and rain threatened but a Hoopoe is always worth seeing. This time my husband came, and we also dragged my daughters out persuading them that the dog would enjoy the walk. Rallying the troops took some time as my 13 year old daughter is a typical teenager and rather partial to her bed at weekends so we didn't manage to set off until the rain had begun to fall.
Reaching Kessingland my daughters and dog headed off for the sea, leaving my husband and I to plod south along the beach into a fine drizzle driven by a brisk, chill southerly wind. I noticed a father and young son birding team walking off the dunes but it was my husband who spotted when they waved at us. Hurrying over to them they pointed out the Hoopoe feeding just in front of the shingle ridge in the middle of the beach. This exotic visitor from sunnier climes looked a little out of place in this bare, open somewhat dismal location and it rapidly took off and with flopping flight headed for the dunes. We caught up with it again as it fed along the path on top of the dunes but it was soon off again on to the slightly more bushy area where I saw the Ring Ouzels last week and then on again into bushes on the south side of the river.
We moved on to Beach Farm in hope of the Wryneck passing several Wheatears including some splendidly plumaged males. The Wryneck had disappeared with the onset of the rain and stayed stubbornly out of view whilst we were there. The bushes in the vicinity seemed alive with Whitethroats however. Walking back to the car, a Lesser Whitethroat gave a few blasts of its staccato song but refused to show too.
Today was a far more pleasant day with warm sunshine. I toyed with the idea of heading for the coast again but decided to stay home and bird the marshes instead. A morning stroll round the marshes was rewarded with confirmation that we had 2 broods of Lapwing chicks, with 2 sets of three chicks feeding around the edge of the scrape. Nearer the house my first Holly Blue butterfly of the year posed on an ivy and Orange Tips seemed abundant.

I stayed outside to have lunch on the patio enjoying watching the activities of the local Marsh Harriers. A House Martin cruised overhead, my first of the year, but even better came the sound of a Cuckoo across the marshes, much earlier than last year. A Peregrine dashed across the marshes too. I also noticed two largish dragonflies on the marsh, too distant to identify, but likely to be Hairy Dragonflies.
This evenings highlights were 2 Short-eared Owls, Green Sandpiper, and  a Curlew which became my third patch year-tick of the day. After a Garden Warbler in the garden during the week this brought my  Patchwork species total to 99 for the year. Can I crack 100 in the 3 remaining days of April?

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