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 here.

THORPE MARSH: Black-necked Grebe

4th February 2017

The news that a Black-necked Grebe had been found on the broad at Thorpe led to that familiar winter feeling of wishing there was more daylight in the evenings and hoping that it would stay until the weekend. Previous birds, and there haven't been very many, were short-staying, so I was pleased to find that it was still present on Saturday. As I headed towards Thorpe Marsh I was met by James Lowen, who along with several other local birders were also keen to see the grebe. We located it fairly quickly, although closer views were typically obscurred by the vegetation. After a while I went further round the path and enjoyed unobscurred although more distant views. This was only my second patch Black-necked Grebe, and my first since 2010. It then began to hail, so I completed a hasty lap before heading to Thorpe Green to check the gulls. The green-ringed Norwegian bird J6U2 was present, as was the local Muscovy. It continued to rain, so I decided against staying out any longer and headed home.

 Out in the open for a few seconds before diving
 Trying to spend most of that time facing away
Typical views, complete with vegetation in front
 Fast moving colour-ringed Black-headed Gull
Slower moving Muscovy Duck

NORWICH: Train Wood birds & fungi

28th January 2017

I had to drop the car in for some new tyres on Saturday morning, so took the opportunity to have an hour or so in Train Wood, the start of the Marriott's Way off Barn Road in Norwich. After a slow start it turned out to be quite a productive visit.

After listening to some common woodland birds I followed a rough path close to the river and noticed that Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage was growing on the wet woodland floor. This unassuming, largely green plant is fairly scarce, I had only seen it previously at Wheatfen so was pleased to find it so close to the city centre.


Further along I stopped opposite Wensum Park. Around 70 Black-headed Gulls were loafing, and depsite the relatively small size of the park there were at least four pairs of Egyptian Geese! A Treecreeper called nearby, and further along a Great-spotted Woodpecker was in a riverside tree. Whilst searching for the woodpecker a Water Rail flew out from the bank and into a small reedy area near the metal bridge. Despite knowing that they had been seen here before, this was a new 'outer ring road' bird for me. On my way back I saw a couple of Little Grebes on the river, which were also of note this close to the city centre.

I was also paying attention to the fungi in the woodland area, and my eye was caught by some Scarlet Elf Cups, another species I've not seen here before. Whilst looking through a nearby log pile I noticed a tiny yellowy-cream fungus growing from a decaying Alder leaf. I recognised it as a member of the genus Typhula, but wasn't sure which one. After a closer look under the microscope and some guidance from county recorder Tony Leech I was able to confirm that it was Typhula setipes, a species only recorded in Norfolk nine times previously (because of the difficulty in seeing it rather than any great rarity I would suggest).