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

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

NORTH NORFOLK: Holt Parrot Crossbills

23rd November 2013

Happily for me the flock of Parrot Crossbills that has taken up residence at Holt C.P. was still present today, so Cathy & I went to have a look. If the Crossbills had chosen to spread themselves out over the country park then this would have been tricky, but as it happened they seemed quite content in trees close to the car park. For most of the time we were there some of the Parrot Crossbills (up to eight by the time we left) in a Larch, showing well albeit in bad light. We were able to watch them feeding and showing off the power of their impressive bills.

As it started to rain we headed back to the car, stopping off near the park giant to look at some fungi. There was a purple bracket (Trichaptum abietinum), Jelly Spot (Dacrymyces stillatus) and a Calocera sp. It looks like Calocera cornea, but as that species usually occurs on deciduous wood it may well be a related species.

NORWICH: A few more interesting fungi...

16th November 2013

With frosts (and maybe snow!) forecast this week, I popped back to Earlham Cemetery once more to try to see a few more species. My main target was a coral fungus called Ramaria flaccida. I had failed to find it last week, but Ian had given me some good directions and eventually I did manage to find some. It was starting to die off and blended in with the pine needles and leaf litter.

Next on the list was a white spindle fungus called Clavaria acuta, which can be hard to see growing in mossy ground.

Finally I went looking for some Earthtongues. These are difficult to assign to species, and it is complicated by more than one species growing together. That appears to be the case at Earlham, as a specimen that Ian took last week appears to be Trichoglossum hirsutum, but one of the ones I examined seems to be a Geoglossum sp based on the shape.

The cemetery has been excellent for fungi this autumn, and I still didn't catch up with Parrot Waxcap and Beaked Earthstar, so I'll certainly be back next autumn to look for those.

WHITLINGHAM: November count & ringed Black-headed Gull

10th November 2013

Today was WeBS count day, and Cathy came along to give me a hand. Wildfowl numbers are starting to build (although probably lower than usual for the time of year). The most notable count was 182 Greylags plus a white one. In terms of ducks there were 72 Mallard, 72 Tufted Ducks, 42 Gadwall, 9 Pochard and a Teal. Black-headed Gull numbers passed 200, and included a white-ringed bird that I have traced to a Norwegian ringing scheme. There was also a red-ringed Herring Gull that was too far away to read the ring - in the past these have been ringed as pulli in Suffolk (if you have seen a colour-ringed gull at Whitlingham and traced it's origins I would be very interested to hear from you). As we walked along the south edge of the broad Cathy found two Kingfishers, which uncharacteristically had flown past in complete silence. She also noticed an orange fungus growing on a log, probably Phlebia radiata.

Rainbow over the great broad
White Greylag
Norwegian-ringed Black-headed Gull

NORWICH: More cemetery fungi

10th November 2013

Ian and the Friends of Earlham Cemetery continue to find lots of good fungi in the cemetery. This morning I popped in to look for a few more species. I soon located the Pipe Clubs thanks to Jeremy's directions, and found more areas of Golden and Snowy Waxcaps. I failed to locate the coral fungus that I was looking for, but did find an interesting little Cantharellus-type fungus growing amongst moss. I have sent photos to the county recorder as I'm not sure what it could be. [Edit] Tony has got back to me and identified it as Arrhenia spathulata.

Golden Waxcaps
Pipe Clubs
Arrhenia spathulata

NORWICH: Catton Park

3rd November 2013

Whilst of course I have my favourite places to watch wildlife, I also enjoy visiting places for the first time to see what is about. For a few years now I have thought that I should check out Catton Park on the northern outskirts of Norwich, but never got round to it. This summer I was looking at their website and noticed there was a Fungi walk in November, so I decided that would be a good time to visit. I arrived for the walk a bit early and was surprised that there wasn't anyone else around other than a group doing a battle re-enactment. Fungus walks and foraging are rather in vogue, so I had expected it to be quite busy. As it happened, one other person turned up (a partner of one of the people in the battle!), but the warden took us round anyway.

We concentrated on a couple of wooded areas where fungi had been seen on a earlier recce, and whilst nothing particularly rare was seen, there were some nice examples of Clouded Funnel, Stump Puffball and Shaggy Scalycap. There is an interesting species of Coral Fungus here somewhere (I've seen pictures of it on Flickr) but unfortunately it's quite a big park and we didn't see it. Overall my impressions were mixed - its clearly a nice piece of parkland if you live locally, but in my time there we saw many more dog walkers than we saw wildlife.

NORFOLK: Sculthorpe Moor

2nd November 2013

It had been a while since we had visited Sculthorpe Moor, so with a free Saturday Cathy, Margaret & I headed there for a look around. We were hoping to get good views of two winter staples here, Bullfinch and Brambling. Whilst both were around somewhere, they steadfastly refused to come to the feeders whilst we were there. The Whitley Hide bird table was dominated by families of Chaffinch and Greenfinch, whilst a Lesser Redpoll also showed well on the ground as it drank from the pond. A large flock of Siskins swirled over, Marsh Tits were numerous and my first Sculthorpe Nuthatch was on the feeders at the start of the boardwalk.

There was a bit of fungi in the woods, including a distinctive looking but as yet unidentified Lepiota sp, and I did manage a new species from the trip, Lady Fern.

EAST NORFOLK: Whale time!

30th October 2013

The last day of my all-too-brief holiday, and I was due to spend it doing that great British pass-time, waiting at home for an Argos delivery. Cathy was getting ready to meet a friend in the city when I turned on the laptop and found out that yesterdays Humpback Whale was back off Winterton. A few phone calls later and my mother-in-law had agreed to come round and house sit and I could head off to the east coast. Cathy & Sophie had decided that whale watching sounded more fun than going for a coffee, so they came along too.

When we got as far as Stalham we called Gary to get a whale update, finding out that it was still off Horsey. This was around half an hour ago, so I decided to stop at Waxham and potentially head the whale off as it moved north. This idea was good in theory, but upon arrival we were told that the Humpback was still off Horsey and only visible just on the horizon. I couldn't see it, so we got back in the car and carried on to Horsey. We almost got stuck in some deep ruts in the car park, but finally got up into the dunes level with the whale. Even then it wasn't straight forward, as the whale was way out to see. We started seeing the air being blown out of the blowhole, and shortly after I finally saw the Humpback Whale itself, as a fin rose out of the water. We watched it for a while longer until it moved northwards, later being seen at Sea Palling.

Interestingly Carl Chapman, Norfolk's SeaWatch Foundation co-ordinator has suggested that there were in fact two Humpbacks involved as some pictures show a fin with some white markings on and some don't: