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

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

WHITLINGHAM: September wildfowl count

22nd September 2013

An overcast day for September's WeBS count, which on the bright side meant the C.P. was less busy than of late. Not a single hirundine was left, no doubt all on the south coast where 34,000 Swallows were seen in the morning alone in Dorset. There were a few signs of increasing waterbird numbers, notably 15 Great-crested Grebes and 20+ Cormorants. Duck-wise 9 Gadwall (5LB, 4 GB) included one with a particularly pale lower half of the head. Four Tufted Ducks and a drake Pochard were also on the Great Broad. Insects were in short supply, a few Migrant Hawkers and an unidentifed White butterfly were the only large insects flying, whilst Long-winged Coneheads called from the vegetation. Some fungi at the side of the path looks like Stropharia coronilla, although I'm not 100%. Hopefully Octobers count will be more exciting!

Gadwall with a two-tone head. I think it's just normal variation rather than any hybrid jiggery-pokery.

Putative Stropharia coronilla


WHITLINGHAM: Green Man and some more fungi

15th September 2013

Another local visit, this time to Whitlingham. It was raining on and off but I wasn't too bothered, as rain showers can drop unusual birds onto lakes during the autumn. Of course they didn't on this occasion, and I made do by watching a mixed flock of Swallows and House Martins skimming low over the Great Broad, feeding up before they migrate.

There didn't seem much point doing a full circuit of the broad, so instead I headed up into Whitlingham Woods. I had heard that some Dog Stinkhorns had been seen recently, so I went in search of them. Considering the relatively dry weather (up until the last week!) there was quite a bit of fungi around. I didn't find any Dog Stinkhorns, but I did find a Common Stinkhorn and some Stag's Horn, neither of which I have recorded here (despite them being common). There was also a lot of Giant Polypore and Dryad's Saddle (both bracket fungi). My find of the day was the Green Man carving that I have been looking for here for ages. The reason that I hadn't found it became obvious - it was in that most pagan of places, the adventure playground.

The Green Man - one of several wood carvings at Whitlingham

Stag's Horn (Calocera viscosa)

Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus)

Giant Polypore (Meripilus giganteus)

NORWICH AREA: UEA wildlife bonanza

8th September 2013

Having moved house the previous week, I took a couple of hours out to go to UEA to look for Norwich's most recent damselfly addition, Willow Emerald. Willow Emeralds are a recent colonist to Norfolk and had been largely restricted to Strumpshaw Fen for the past few years, however earlier this summer they had been seen on a stretch of the Yare near Cringleford and near UEA, and more recently the stretch in between. On my way I cut through the woods at the bottom of Eaton Park, seeing this Common Cow-wheat (pictured below). Although commoner than Crested Cow-wheat, which I went and saw earlier in the year, this is still a scarce plant in Norfolk.

I spent some time near the little pond just along the boardwalk from UEA Broad looking for easily photographable Willow Emeralds, but couldn't see any there. I set off along the path, and eventually found four, including a mating pair. Unfortunately I didn't manage to get any photos to improve on last years digi-binned effort, but I was at least able to enjoy good views of them along the far bank of the river. As well as an egg-laying Southern Hawker and four Migrant Hawkers, I also saw quite a bit of other wildlife. I'm still trying to identify this velvety white bracket fungus, but there were several more identifiable species present too.

Polyporus durus or badius, I need to double-check

I also spotted this interesting bug, which I think is Corizus hyoscyami. Bird-wise I saw a couple of Kingfishers and heard Cetti's Warbler and Chiffchaff.

On my way back I spotted this caterpillar on a fruit tree. It is particularly interesting because it is a Grey Dagger caterpillar. When the moth emerges it is identical to the Dark Dagger unless you kill it and dissect its bits, so the caterpillars represent a non-lethal way of securing a positive ID.

YARE VALLEY: Strumpshaw Wryneck

29th August 2013

A quick afternoon visit to Strumpshaw with Cathy, and the Wryneck was still showing well along the riverside path. A good inland record following a large number at the coast last weekend.