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

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

BROADS: Wroxham Barns

2nd March 2019

During a family visit to Wroxham Barns we were watching the birds around a pond and contemplating if I would be able to see a Swoose on a future visit as a Mute Swan being followed about by a white farmyard-type domestic Greylag. The swan was almost in the water when I noticed that it had a leg ring! We lingered a bit but it showed no inclination to get back out of the water. Fortunately after a look around the farm we returned and it did climb out. As I was looking after Rose, Cathy agreed to go over and read the ring. I haven't submitted it yet, but from the details I suspect it is going to be an RSPCA rescue, so it probably hasn't travelled anywhere, which is a bit of an anticlimax.

NORWICH: Early Egyptian Geese goslings

25th February & 1st March 2019

On my way home from work I glanced down into the river and noticed a pair of Egyptian Geese with four goslings. This species breeds in any month of the year in the UK, although presumably with varied success. I remembered having seen goslings in February before, and having checked my records I had seen goslings earlier than this twice before - on 13th Feb last year at Flitcham and 18th Feb 2010 at Holkham. Later in the week I found a family with three goslings in Wensum Park. Given that this isn't very far upstream of where I had my first sighting I suspect it is the same birds.

SOUTH NORFOLK: Raveningham Estate

24th February 2019

Raveningham Hall estate and gardens was somewhere that I was vaguely aware of but had never visited. Having been spurred on by seeing a trip report on another blog we decided to pay a family visit whilst the Snowdrops were still out (the gardens are only open for certain events during the year). My first impressions were that it was a picturesque location, but not as big as it had appeared from the map. Indeed standing in the middle of the woodland you could see out in each direction. As it happened though there was plenty to see so this wasn't an issue.

We started by looking out over the lake, which would probably make a good patch for someone if access was more uniform. Over the far side we saw some Wigeon and a pair of Oystercatchers, whilst a Mistle Thrush fed in the parkland beyond. Walking around the woods we came upon the 'stumpery' which was interesting, and several Nuthatches called nearby. A singing Chiffchaff was heard distantly.

After walking around the woods and seeing the Snowdrops we returned to the main gardens, which were understandably rather flower-light because of the time of year. I saw my first Hairy-footed Flower Bees of the year, along with the leaf mines of Phytomyza hellebori. The cafe was busy so we headed down to Raveningham Church, which had I done my research I would have known holds some interesting lichens. Afterwards we headed back to the cafe for a simple but tasty lunch, and on a short walk around the rest of the estate we found quite a few Pine Ladybirds.

THORPE MARSHES: Early spring bits and bobs

23rd February 2019

I made time for a couple of hours at Thorpe Marshes on Saturday - the sunny weather made for a pleasant visit but also meant that there wasn't much birdlife visible on the marsh as there were a lot of other people about. There were about 120 Tufted Ducks, 3 Goldeneye and a Pochard on the broad, whilst a Sparrowhawk was flying up over the ridge. A couple of Meadow Pipits flew up from the marsh, a Linnet was in song and a Nuthatch called across the river somewhere in Whitlingham Woods.

There were few flowers out to attract insects, Lesser Celandines along Bungalow Lane were the main ones. I focused on the small woodland area, hoping I might find a moth resting on the bark, and found a few bits and pieces. A Drinker Moth caterpillar seemed very early, whilst joint highlights were the larvae of a False Ladybird beetle (looking like a cross between a Woodlouse and a Trilobite!) and an unusual red creature, which has since been identified as the larvae of a type of thrip (one of the Phlaeothripidae)

NORWICH: Garden Pheasant

Late February 2019

Whilst sat in the living room Cathy looked out of the window and asked if there was a Pheasant on the roof of the house opposite. It seemed an odd question (we live on a Norwich housing estate with no fields anywhere near), but looking out it was indeed a Pheasant. I scattered some seed around the garden in the hope it would fly down, but it left the rooftop and we didn't see it again.