The Whitlingham Bird Report 2020 is available now (click here)

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

NORFOLK: Late July round-up and patch 100

Late July 2013

With my wedding fast approaching (along with a house move and new job) updates may be sporadic over the summer, for which I apologise.

Last week Cathy & I headed down to Lynford Arboretum, where we were lucky enough to get brief views of one of the juvenile Two-barred Crossbills that has been present for the last week or so. Also in the flock was a 'wing-barred' Common Crossbill, the first time I can remember seeing one although apparently it isn't that unusual.

At the weekend I had a walk around Mousehold. Given its relative height and areas of coniferous trees it is probably the best bet of finding a Crossbill on the outskirts of Norwich, but there was no sign of any today. After the weeks of wall-to-wall sunshine it was overcast, so it wasn't great for butterflies either, mostly just Large Whites and Gatekeepers.

Today I headed down to Thorpe Marsh via Carey's Meadow, where the Roesel's Bush Crickets were calling loudly. At Thorpe the scrape was completely dry, so no chance of a decent wader. Scanning the vegetation at the edge of the ditches I found a green Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar. This confused me a bit, as the ones I've seen before have been brown, but apparently they start green and then turn brown for their final instar. The walk ended on a high note, as I reached the river I saw a Little Egret standing on the far bank. This was only the second Little Egret I have seen here, the first on the deck and more importantly my 100th patch bird of the year! Almost two months since my 99th bird on 29th May. Hopefully I don't have to wait another two months for the 101st one.

Patch Egret. A boat flushed it 30 seconds later, completing the Whitlingham experience.

WHITLINGHAM: July counts and Essex Skippers

21st July 2013

I tend to avoid Whitlingham at weekends when it gets hot, but there was no avoiding it today as I had the WeBS count to do. Whitlingham Lane and the car parks were all packed because there was Dragon-boat racing on, but as they were doing a couple of boats at a time it didn't seem to have had much of an effect on the already rather habituated wildfowl. On the slipway were several juvenile Black-headed Gulls. Not a plumage we get here that much, and I see that one further down the Yare has already been mistaken for a Red-necked Phalarope!

Wildfowl was pretty much as expected, 105 Mute Swan, 63 each of Greylag and Canada Geese (that being a reduction in Greylags from last month), 49 Egyptian Geese, 91 Mallard and 4 Tufted Ducks being the bulk of the count. Four Common Terns were also still present. Looking across to Thorpe a couple of Oystercatchers and four Lapwings were on the spit, that was about it.

On the insect front there was little dragon or damselfly activity, but a couple of Essex Skippers were a site tick, and there were also Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Ringlet and Small Tortoiseshells around.

BROADS: Can you identify this Carpet moth?

Earlier this week I got to examine a trap of moths caught in a garden in Barton Turf. Most of them were straightforward (and included a Ghost Moth, plus my first Miller and Small Angle Shades), but there was a carpet that I am unsure of and would welcome any opinions on.

Unknown carpet sp.
Female Ghost Moth
Peppered moth showing camouflage on a printed background

MID-NORFOLK: Crested Cow-wheat at last

7th July 2013

Last year we made three attempts to see this particular plant. The first two occasions we failed to find the only place in Norfolk that it grows. On the third attempt we found the location, but it had finished flowering. So it was rather pleasing to finally see Crested Cow-wheat for the first time. With the sun beating down, I took a few photos and then we headed back to Norwich to watch the Wimbledon final and have a BBQ. 

WHITLINGHAM: Summer is here

30th June 2013

A rather typical mid-summer visit to Whitlingham, hot, lots of people and not that many birds. In fact the most interesting thing was probably an emergence of butterflies, notably Small Tortoiseshells and Speckled Woods. A Norfolk Hawker near the bird screen and an Emperor along the south shore were the best of the dragonflies. Four Common Terns were fishing on the Great Broad, but that was it for avian highlights. On the way back I walked through the picnic meadow, seeing Orange Hawkweed and Meadow Cranesbill.

THORPE: Carey's Meadow & Thorpe Marsh

29th June 2013

I have rather neglected the Thorpe side of my patch this spring, so I decided to have a walk down to Thorpe Marsh today. On the way I stopped in at Carey's Meadow to look for orchids. I found around 30 flowering spikes of Pyramidal Orchid, a few Common Spotted Orchids and a few Southern Marsh (no Bee Orchids though).

Arriving at Thorpe I completed a clockwise lap, stopping to scan the dry scrape. Several dragonflies whizzed past, and a Small China-mark moth was flying amongst the dyke-side vegetation. The willows have grown up so much that it is now impossible to scan the broad from the bird screen, making it rather redundant. The only birds of note were a Common Tern and a Garden Warbler, but it was still a nie walk in the sunshine.