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THORPE MARSH: Stonechats

5th November 2016

Before deciding to go to Minsmere to see the Cliff Swallow, I had been planning to go to Whitlingham to look for recent arrivals and any visible migration. After the successful Suffolk trip I didn't want to be out for much longer before heading home, but decided to make a quick diversion to Thorpe Marsh. On Monday Ricky had seen a pair of Stonechats at the marsh, and I had only seen one Stonechat in the area, and that back in 2008. With the clocks going back evening visits are out now, so I hoped that they were still present.

After parking up I hurried over the footbridge and along the permissive path to the cattle compound. Scanning the favoured area of Bramble I couldn't see any birds perched up, but a bit further along I noticed a bird land on a gatepost. Binoculars up, it was a male Stonechat! The female also briefly perched up on a different gate, but soon disappeared onto the marsh behind. The male stayed around long enough to get excellent views and some photos. Stonechats sometimes overwinter west of Norwich at Earlham Marsh, so hopefully these may stay here for the winter. On my way back I heard a Water Rail squealing from beside the path.

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