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 http://www.honeyguide.co.uk/documents/ThorpeMarshesWildlifeReport2016.pdf

WHITLINGHAM: Little Gulls

4th April 2016

During the late afternoon Joe and Jim had seen an unringed White Stork flying west over Surlingham, so I headed down to Whitlingham on the off chance that it would fly over. It didn't quite, but was sighted over the A47 just within the Whitlingham recording area before the bird turned and flew south. Whilst Norfolk White Stork records are frequently tarred by the free-flying birds from Thrigby Hall (and to a lesser extent the ringed birds being rehabilitated at Shorelands near Diss), Peter Allard reported presumably the same bird roosting at Halvergate and suggested it wasn't from Thrigby.

Anyway, with no sign of the stork I carried on along the south shore of the broad, hearing and then seeing my first Blackcap of the year. Scanning across to Thorpe Broad there were eight Stock Doves on the spit but not much else. I decided to head back along the south shore rather than do a complete lap, and stopped to look at a Saucer Bug in a large puddle.



I was getting close to the island when I noticed some gulls catching midges close to the water surface. They seemed a bit too nimble to be Black-headed Gulls, but I was still surprised to see they were in fact Little Gulls. There was a nice summer adult and a bird in 1st-winter plumage, and after following them about I saw a third bird, in summer adult plumage (white upperwings, dark underneath) but with a slightly patchy hood. All three were very active, constantly zooming back and forth.



Justin joined me, and whilst watching the Little Gulls a Common Buzzard flew low over, and a Kestrel also flew past. After about six o'clock the gulls were no longer flying about near us. I left to go home, but Justin carried on to the east end of the broad to search for the gulls, which had vanished. On the way back I met Drew, who had heard a couple of Willow Warblers near the west end of the broad, so I diverted there and heard one singing before I got back to the car.

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