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

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

WHITLINGHAM: A new rust, early House Martin and Kittiwake (eventually)

Early April 2021

A patch visit early in the month started well, with a mixed flock of hirundines containing House Martins, a week earlier than my previous earliest record here. At least two Mute Swans were on nests, and two Wigeon were on the Great Broad along with Mandarin, Mallard, Gadwall, Teal, Tufted Duck and Pochard. There was a large flock of 1st-winter Black-headed Gulls near the end of the broad, but I couldn't pick out anything else amongst them. Heading off into the wooded edge a Stock Dove was singing, and after checking a couple of patches of Moschatel I found some with Puccinia albescens, the second of the two rust fungi that specialise on it (having found the first one in Whitlingham Woods a few years ago).

 



I then headed round to Thorpe Marshes for my first visit of the year. The water levels were very high and the river had started to overflow onto the path, so I decided to do a quick lap. The pair of Stonechats that had overwintered were still present out on the marsh, and there was success on St Andrews Broad where a winter-plumaged adult Little Gull was with the Black-headed Gulls. At that point I found out that Justin had found two Kittiwakes on the Great Broad! He assured me that they looked very settled, so applying Sod's law it wasn't any great suprise that they had flown off 20 minutes later.

There was however a reprise, with an adult Kittiwake being found at Whitlingham a few days later. Rose and I took a walk along the southern shore of the Great Broad and eventually saw it at the east end. This was only my second live bird here (having also found a recently dead 1st year bird as well as an adult).

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