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: City centre sightings and a White-fronted Goose

1st week of March 2021

A busy week at work, compounded by the knowledge that a Black Redstart was present on my estate during a couple of the days and would have either been visible from the house or possibly even on top of it. Bird sightings on the way into the city have increased, with Sparrowhawks seen on several days, a Kingfisher along the river at New Mills and unexpectedly an Egyptian Goose on the building adjacent to Chapelfield Gardens!

 

Other wildlife sightings included a new site for Collared Earthstar (Geastrum triplex) - under some trees near the Sainsburys on Queens Road, and a small orange bryophilous fungus growing on a mossy wall, identified by George Grieff as Octospora coccinea s.l.



 

Throughout February there had been a flock of White-fronted Geese on the marshes at Postwick. These were quite close to Norwich as the crow flies, but quite a trek following footpaths or roads, so I had grudgingly ignored them. During the early part of March there seemed to be a movement of White-fronted Geese south of Norwich, including one that spent a few days at Marston Marshes. Marston is on the edge of Norwich a similar distance away to Whitlingham or UEA, so I went for a walk there and fortunately the White-fronted Goose was still present along the river, an excellent bird for the Norwich area. I also saw my first Ring-necked Parakeet of the year there, and some large aquatic snail shells on flood debris that Mike Hoit had already identified as Lister's River Snail.



NORWICH: Some mosses for the end of February

Last week of February 2021

This week's excursions were limited to a walk around the local park and the walk into work, neither of which resulted in any bird additions to the year list. A sunny spell did bring out a few insects though, with my first hoverfly of the year (Eristalis tenax), butterfly (Peacock) and bumblebee (too fast to be sure what species). Greenfinches and Chaffinches were also singing locally, whilst a Robin popped into the back garden on several days.

On Twitter Leif Bersweden had started posting information about common mosses, using the hashtag #couchto10mosses which encouraged me to look at some of the moss covered walls I passed, and I found a couple of the species mentioned, Wall Screw-moss (Tortula muralis) and Capillary Thread-moss (Bryum capillare).

Capillary Thread-moss (Bryum capillare)
Wall Screw-moss (Tortula muralis)
Unknown moss sp.

NORWICH: 3rd week of February and some Curlew at Hellesdon

3rd week of February 2021

I managed to get out for another local walk this week, choosing to go down onto the Marriott's Way and walk out westwards. Sweetbriar Marshes was flooded quite heavily in places (as you would expect from a floodplain) and I crossed over and went down Hellsedon Road for a while. It was nice to walk along the river, and Jay, Pheasant and Green Woodpecker were all new birds for the year. Scanning over the meadows between the river and Marriott's Way most of the birds appeared to be gulls, but further along a couple of Curlews were visible. They had first been seen a few days previously by Jo Dale, but I was pleased that they were still present given that I'd not seen any around Norwich before. I appeared to have timed it just right, because on my way home soemthing put up the gulls and the Curlews also took to the air, calling several times before flying off high north-eastwards.


Back at home the warm weather brought up my first Buzzard of the year distantly over the housing estate.


WHITLINGHAM: Snowy WeBS count and watching Redwings

2nd week of February 2021

A few days of heavy snow across the county meant not leaving the house on the basis that a pandemic is not a great time to have an ice related accident. Once things had began to thaw I did venture out, and walked to Whitlingham to get February's WeBS count done. The city was both pleasantly quiet and not as slippery as I had thought it might be. 

Arriving at Whitlingham the Little Broad was completely frozen, but most of the Great Broad was still open. There was a decent range of ducks (although typically a Smew and a Black-necked Grebe turned up on successive days after my visit). I counted 239 Tufted Ducks and around 120 Gadwall, with the long-staying 1st-winter Scaup plus Goldeneye, Wigeon, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Pochard and Mallard also present. A Bittern had been seen earlier in the day, but wasn't on show and I didn't linger to wait for it. Several flocks of Siskins were in the Alders, and I heard my first drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker. The highlights were both seen as I walked back along Whitlingham Lane, getting prolonged views of a flock of Redwings feeding on Ivy berries, and finally a Woodcock flew over the road.

 





Elsewhere during the cold snap I had added three birds to the year list from the garden, Greenfinch, Goldcrest and a male Blackcap.