17th October 2015
This week has seen large numbers of migrant birds arriving at the coast, but before worrying about those there was this months WeBS counts to get done. As I pulled into the car park at Whitlingham I thought it was odd that there was a caravan parked up, until I looked around the rest of the car park, where many more large caravans were also positioned. The penny dropped that travellers had taken over and set up camp, so I had to turn round and managed to find a space in the next car park along.
Before leaving the car park I heard my first Redwings calling as they flew over. Along the edge of the little broad there were lots of reddish-orange Tawny Funnels (Lepista flaccida) growing amongst the leaf litter. A Water Rail squealed from the broad edge, and a Grey Heron perched up on one of the bales floating in the water. Some more fungi were growing between the two broads, this time Clustered Domecap (Lyophyllum decastes), a new patch species for me.
There has been a significant increase in wildfowl since last month, although nothing particularly spectacular. In terms of ducks there were 81 Mallard, 43 Gadwall, 27 Tufted Ducks, 6 Pochard and 1 Teal. Other species included 103 Coot, 2 Great-crested Grebes and 2 Little Grebes. 41 Cormorants was a large non-roost count, and interestingly a group of 16 were fishing together, a behaviour I seldom see here. A Kingfisher flew past, 2 Cetti's Warblers called, and several Siskin flew over.
The most interesting avian sighting of the day occurred as I scanned across to Thorpe Marsh. Seven Teal were visible on the spit, when I noticed some black-and-white stripes showing amongst the vegetation behind them. I expected it to be a Water Rail, so was surprised when a Red-legged Partridge came into view! Viewing through some trees and in the rain prevented me from getting more than a record shot of this slightly out-of-place bird.
Red-legged Partridge at Thorpe