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THORPE MARSH: Patch tick - Whinchat

21st September 2014

This year so far has not been a classic for birds at Whitlingham, and it was more than a year since I had seen a new patch bird. Of the commoner species I am yet to see locally Whinchat seemed the most likely as there had been a large influx at the start of September. One had been seen at Thorpe on the 6th, and another one this Wednesday, so when a local birder asked if there was much about, I told him to keep an eye out in case. I thought no more about it until I got a message from Joe, telling me that he had just seen two Whinchats at Thorpe. Cathy supportively agreed to delay the shopping to allow me to go and have a look.

I arrived at Thorpe and met Joe coming back towards the railway. He kindly turned round and walked back along the footpath to the marsh to show me where he had seen the Whinchats. On the way we stopped and watched several Snipe flying low onto the scrape. When Joe had last seen the Whinchats they had gone into an area of scrub near the middle of the marsh, so we stood on the footpath nearby. There was no sign of anything perched up on the bushes, but then we noticed the two Whinchats fly up and then continue high over the railway line towards the paddock on Bungalow Lane. Having made sure they weren't just looping round we headed back, on the way getting a fleeting look at a damselfly that was probably (but not conclusively) a Willow Emerald, a species which has been seen here for the first time last week. Many thanks to Joe for passing on news of his sighting, my 141st patch bird and 802nd patch species in total.

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