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For previous years (2012-2019) see the links on the Whitlingham Bird List page.

North & South of Norwich

4th July 2010
Part 1 - The North.
With Whitlingham offlimits (triathlon), I walked up to Mousehold Heath, hoping to jam in on the recent emergence of White Admirals. With few flowers out I concentrated on banks of brambles, but with no luck. I did pick up my first Essex Skipper of the year near Zaks. Two Brown Hawkers were flying over the heath, but Vinegar Pond has completely dried up, leaving them with nowhere to lay their eggs. A Green Woodpecker was the only bird of note. I stopped on the way back for a pint at the Murderers. The Woodfordes beer "Game On" (my beer of the month) is a special for the world cup, so I have to make the most of it in the next week.

Part 2 - South-east of Norwich
Like most people who heard that a River Warbler was singing at a site south-east of Norwich, I tried to guess where it might be. I guessed a private bit of the Yare valley, and hoped that it was at Whitlingham Sewage Works so that it would be a patch tick. My reaction to finding out that it was near Haddiscoe was to hope that the person responsible wasn't an estate agent. I managed to get a lift with Adam & Laura and we joked that there would be signs saying "River Warbler this way" up. Then there actually were! Thats real organisation.
Arriving onsite we were waved in by Dick Filby and then greeted by some friendly Americans (the landowners presumably?). We walked out of the parking area and round to the side, where after half an hour or so we heard our first bit of River Warbler song. The sewing machine comparison is a pretty good one, and there are similarities with the first few notes of Yellowhammer song as well. We stood and waited, as did Jim, before murmurs filtered through that it was showing from the carpark area. We walked back round, and sure enough we managed to see the River Warbler skulking low down in a small Alder. At first I could only see the back of it, but it moved slightly when it began singing, still partly obscured by vegetation most of the time.
Laura still hadn't seen it, being too short to look over the crowds, and me & Adam wanted better views, so we stuck around until 9.30. In the meantime David Norgate came over and said hi, as did Connor. The warbler did show again, long enough for Adam & Laura to look down another birders 'scope, but hopes that it would perch nicely on top of the bush were unfulfilled. Still, brief views are better than no views! The evening sun shining on the reeds was a lovely sight to add to the evening, and a Barn Owl briefly hunted the marshes behind the warbler bush.
A big thanks to everyone involved in finding the bird and arranging access, the effort is very much appreciated.

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