The Whitlingham Bird Report for 2016 is now available to download here.

The previous reports are also availble: 2015 here,
2014 report here and the 2013 report here. Thanks to everyone who has contributed sightings, information and photos to these reports.

You may also be interested in Chris Durdin's Thorpe Marsh Wildlife Report for 2016, which is available

WHITLINGHAM: September wildfowl count

22nd September 2013

An overcast day for September's WeBS count, which on the bright side meant the C.P. was less busy than of late. Not a single hirundine was left, no doubt all on the south coast where 34,000 Swallows were seen in the morning alone in Dorset. There were a few signs of increasing waterbird numbers, notably 15 Great-crested Grebes and 20+ Cormorants. Duck-wise 9 Gadwall (5LB, 4 GB) included one with a particularly pale lower half of the head. Four Tufted Ducks and a drake Pochard were also on the Great Broad. Insects were in short supply, a few Migrant Hawkers and an unidentifed White butterfly were the only large insects flying, whilst Long-winged Coneheads called from the vegetation. Some fungi at the side of the path looks like Stropharia coronilla, although I'm not 100%. Hopefully Octobers count will be more exciting!

Gadwall with a two-tone head. I think it's just normal variation rather than any hybrid jiggery-pokery.

Putative Stropharia coronilla


WHITLINGHAM: Green Man and some more fungi

15th September 2013

Another local visit, this time to Whitlingham. It was raining on and off but I wasn't too bothered, as rain showers can drop unusual birds onto lakes during the autumn. Of course they didn't on this occasion, and I made do by watching a mixed flock of Swallows and House Martins skimming low over the Great Broad, feeding up before they migrate.

There didn't seem much point doing a full circuit of the broad, so instead I headed up into Whitlingham Woods. I had heard that some Dog Stinkhorns had been seen recently, so I went in search of them. Considering the relatively dry weather (up until the last week!) there was quite a bit of fungi around. I didn't find any Dog Stinkhorns, but I did find a Common Stinkhorn and some Stag's Horn, neither of which I have recorded here (despite them being common). There was also a lot of Giant Polypore and Dryad's Saddle (both bracket fungi). My find of the day was the Green Man carving that I have been looking for here for ages. The reason that I hadn't found it became obvious - it was in that most pagan of places, the adventure playground.

The Green Man - one of several wood carvings at Whitlingham

Stag's Horn (Calocera viscosa)

Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus)

Giant Polypore (Meripilus giganteus)

NORWICH AREA: UEA wildlife bonanza

8th September 2013

Having moved house the previous week, I took a couple of hours out to go to UEA to look for Norwich's most recent damselfly addition, Willow Emerald. Willow Emeralds are a recent colonist to Norfolk and had been largely restricted to Strumpshaw Fen for the past few years, however earlier this summer they had been seen on a stretch of the Yare near Cringleford and near UEA, and more recently the stretch in between. On my way I cut through the woods at the bottom of Eaton Park, seeing this Common Cow-wheat (pictured below). Although commoner than Crested Cow-wheat, which I went and saw earlier in the year, this is still a scarce plant in Norfolk.

I spent some time near the little pond just along the boardwalk from UEA Broad looking for easily photographable Willow Emeralds, but couldn't see any there. I set off along the path, and eventually found four, including a mating pair. Unfortunately I didn't manage to get any photos to improve on last years digi-binned effort, but I was at least able to enjoy good views of them along the far bank of the river. As well as an egg-laying Southern Hawker and four Migrant Hawkers, I also saw quite a bit of other wildlife. I'm still trying to identify this velvety white bracket fungus, but there were several more identifiable species present too.

Polyporus durus or badius, I need to double-check

I also spotted this interesting bug, which I think is Corizus hyoscyami. Bird-wise I saw a couple of Kingfishers and heard Cetti's Warbler and Chiffchaff.

On my way back I spotted this caterpillar on a fruit tree. It is particularly interesting because it is a Grey Dagger caterpillar. When the moth emerges it is identical to the Dark Dagger unless you kill it and dissect its bits, so the caterpillars represent a non-lethal way of securing a positive ID.

YARE VALLEY: Strumpshaw Wryneck

29th August 2013

A quick afternoon visit to Strumpshaw with Cathy, and the Wryneck was still showing well along the riverside path. A good inland record following a large number at the coast last weekend.