25th March 2011
After the excitement of last weeks Bittern, I was quietly hopeful that this could be the year I finally break my Whitlingham Garganey duck (pun intended). A singing Chiffchaff on Trowse Meadows was a patch year tick, and several more were in song around the country park. Better was to come when a now familiar trilling sound alerted me to 19 Waxwings, which flew over the meadows off towards Thorpe. Waxwing was another patch bogey bird for me, in a spell that included one visit when some were onsite but thick fog came down preventing me from seeing them!
A brief burst of sunshine wasn't enough to bring any butterflies out, but two Tree Bumblebees were a first for me. This species was first discovered in Norfolk in 2008 (in Earlham Cemetery), but has since spread rapidly. Duck numbers were low (3 Pochard, 4 Teal, 6 Shoveler), and no sign of any Garganey. Nonetheless I did manage to add an unprecedented third patch tick in two visits, a Little Egret flying east over the Great Broad. As a result of my dawdling it was getting dark as I walked back. The upside was that I got a chance to try out my bat detector. A bat near the Little Broad turned out to be the expected Soprano Pipistrelle, but five or six flying over the river from the main bridge going back to the city could have been Common Pipistrelle or Daubentons (45kHz).