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

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

NORWICH: January week 2 - a new birch catkin gall

2nd week of January 2021

A quiet week. Cutting through Wensum Park a couple of times finally paid off when I saw the 2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull again. It doesn't seem to be there the whole time, but does tend to fly in when the gull flock are attracted by people putting down food, as was the case here. Otherwise the only new birds for the year list were Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Coal Tit, the latter a welcome site in the garden. 

As with the first week I did eak out a new species, this time by checking some old birch catkins. A post online had highlighted that there were three gall midges in the genus Semudobia that can cause galls on them. Having taken a few home I failed to find either of the species that cause swellings in the seeds, but did find galls of Semudobia skuhravae, which swells the bases of the seeds and means they stick to the central bit of the catkin. There are no Norfolk records on NBN, but Rex Hancy lists it for both VC27 and VC28 in his NNNS Occasional Publication on the plant galls of Norfolk, so there must be Norfolk records of it on a database somewhere! I hope there will still be some old catkins left next time I get to go for a good walk at Whitlingham so I can check for them there.

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