Amazing April.

 As April got underway there was a hope of new arrivals on the patch, the weather during the month was a bit changeable but some nice sunny days and decent temperatures. It wasn't long before we encountered our first male Blackcap singing away near Woodlands. The Peregrines were seen on a few occasions over the house, at one time it was seen to make a swoop at a Kestrel that was mobbing a Common Buzzard hunting along the cliffs. During the first 3 weeks of April, Sarah and I both got a horrendous Flu virus/come chest infection/sinus problems etc etc....I have never been so bad in my life and so everything took a back seat whilst trying to get over it, thankfully I didn't really miss much except for a few Hooded Crows that headed past.
 Once I did manage to get out and about I set about finding what had come into the area during my layoff. There was plenty of Fulmar activity along the cliffs, I had 7 pass me one morning, hugging the cliffs as they flew within feet of me. 


 Smaller birds were more numerous, quite a few Goldcrest about and definitely more Blackcap had arrived around the village and the first female seen mid month. More Swallow passed as the days progressed along with Sand and House Martin, the latter inspecting the eaves of a neighbours house already. Common Whitethroat had now moved into the area so I set about getting some images of these, but no sign of any Lesser Whitethroat at this time.


 More Wheatear were passing through, I found 4 together early one morning, and normally the Yellow Wagtails I see are fly overs along the front so a distant one actually on the ground with 2 Pied Wagtails was a nice sight. As the month drew on it got busier, Chiffchaff's calling all over the place, Lesser Whitethroat's were now in and a very rewarding time started with a few new additions to the patch list and also the garden list!

By now I was checking every corvid that flew over or past the garden in the hope of connecting with a Hooded Crow, there had been quite a few moving along so I was hopeful, and sure enough on the 24th I had not 1 but 2 Hooded Crows fly over the garden....result, a tick for the Trimingham patch and best of all the garden list! 
2 Days later whilst taking a tea break from my artwork, I stood in the kitchen doorway waiting for the kettle to boil, I saw a couple of crows pass behind the trees towards the cliffs, I was still checking all the crows for more Hooded in the hope of getting a photo, I noticed something behind the crows over the sea... I knew from the size it was a raptor so I ran..yes ran to the bottom of the garden to grab my bins off my camera tripod... as I focused in on the bird to my excitement I was looking at a Osprey! I couldn't believe it, so I grabbed a couple of distant record shots as it headed inland off to the southwest. To finish the day I added another Hooded Crow over the garden and a couple of Whimbrel heading east.


 Well if that wasn't good enough the very next day news from Overstrand from fellow birders about the previous days Alpine Swift over their houses!! It headed east (my way!) at first but then could of moved towards Cromer as it was lost to sight as it hit the ridge that way. By now I was already in the garden and scouring the skies, it was a god awful morning with horrid weather, no wonder the Swift was on the move. Then it happened, I couldn't believe my luck.... all of a sudden I saw the Alpine Swift to the front of the house....shouting out Alpine to Sarah who was also in the garden, we watched the bird fly up and over the church opposite and head off eastwards. To say I was buzzing after the last 2 days was an understatement....you could of renamed me 'Bumblebee Lawrence'!!
 I finished the month off with photographing Lesser Whitethroats.... but this was just the birds I still have the moths to add.

MOTHING
 Powdered Quaker
New additions to the Garden Moth List, Powdered Quaker, Mullein, White Point. It was a weird month with regards to numbers caught in the trap, some nights I would get just a handful and then on another I filled up the fridge with 42 pots! But the year list was increasing and with plenty more good stuff to arrive.
 Mullein
 White Point
 Shuttle-shaped Dart
 Muslin Moths
 Nutmeg
 Brindled Beauty
 Cabbage Moth
 Swallow Prominent
 Frosted Green
Red Twin-spot Carpet

A real blustery start to March 2019.

 After a good ending to February I was all set for a interesting March, I ventured out on the 1st of the month and once again saw Peregrine, as the month drew on I wondered if they were the pair that had set up residence on Cromer Church and Trimingham became part of their hunting patch? Hares were chasing around, the Kestrels displaying to one another....but then the weather took a turn for the worse and we were bombarded with high winds for a couple of weeks, the relentless winds put a stop to birding and indeed most things, except for maybe watching the gulls surf the waves.

 Finally the winds eased and I was able to get back out and about again on the 18th. Birds were moving along the coast, I noted quite a few Pied wagtails and Meadow pipits and an increase in corvids among which I saw a few Rook, only the second time have I seen Rook on my patch since moving to Trimingham, and of course the floodgates opened and they soon put their name on the garden list.
Firecrest
 On the 19th I received a call from friend Kieran about a pair of Firecrest in the main clifftop wood, coincidentally Sarah and I were gearing up to take the dogs for a walk, this quickly made our decision of where to walk very obvious, and a short while later I was indeed connecting with these little beauties. After the walk I decided to head back with the camera and try for some images, and with luck on my side I managed to grab some nice shots. 
Later as the light was fading, whilst talking to my neighbour, we both watched the first bat of the year!




On the 22nd I managed to find a lone male Wheatear on the clifftop fields.  
 Wheatear

 On the 24th Kieran came down the drive with news of a Black Redstart in one of the paddocks along Church Road opposite, I didn't hesitate in rushing in for my camera and trotting off down the lane as this would be the first Black Redstart on my patch to see and also a new patch addition for Kieran...well done sir!
Later that day whilst walking back down the lane with Sarah and the dogs I found a White wagtail feeding with a couple of Pieds before it moved to the same paddock the Black Redstart was frequenting. The redstart' was seen over the next couple of days by others but I was unable to connect with it anymore.
Black Redstart
As the month came to an end the birds continued to arrive, raptors were increasing on the thermals with double figures of Buzzards and 4 Red Kites, on the 29th I saw my first Swallow and Sand Martin of the year.
Once the winds had eased right down I was able to put the moth light out on a couple of nights, adding a couple of new species to the garden moth list, namely March Moth and Oak Beauty.
 Red Chestnut
 March Moth
 Early Grey
 Twin-spotted Quaker
 Early Thorn
 Small Quaker
 Satellite
 Oak Beauty
Clouded Drab
 Looking forward to April, fingers crossed for decent weather. (As of when typing the weather is dark, grey, cold and wet!! Crossing more fingers)

February ends positive.

 After finding the Iceland Gull on the 11th Feb', things quietened down a tad but there were definitely more birds around, I had flushed a couple of Woodcock and there was an increase in Meadow Pipits. Out to sea I picked up on a single Curlew and Fulmar passed every time I birded off the cliffs. Also on the same day as the Curlew I saw a Red Kite heading east out to sea, followed by another one some time later but his one was hugging the coastline and flew overhead. 
 Red Kite
 Red Kite
 Red Kite
In the photo below I was watching a Muntjac deer creep through the reeded area below feeding away, it was then that I picked up on a Water Rail squealing, no doubt unhappy about the intruder heading it's way.
 On most days one or 2 Muntjac could be seen along the cliff slopes or resting up under a bush. I presume this is the same pair that are leaving hoof imprints all over the place!
 Muntjac
In the photo below you can see the males fang protruding. 
 During February we had some stunning warm weather, and with that came a lot more bird activity, Chiffchaffs started to call, Stonechats were on the move and scattered around, butterflies took to the wing with Brimstone, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell seen. Out to sea I picked up on 2 Ringed Plover heading east and nearing the end of the month a couple of Peregrine Falcons flew in over the sea and headed inland, followed shortly thereafter by a lovely female Marsh Harrier scouring the clifftop scrub before heading inland. On a morning dog walk we saw a pair of Grey Partridge, the first for the year and nice to see they escaped the winter shooting.
Female Marsh Harrier
My garden mothing got off to a start too, I managed to get just 4 moths but 3 different species. To think that February last year brought knee deep snow around the Trimingham lanes and we had been basking in glorious sun, lets hope the change back to normal weather doesn't risk those species brought out by the heat. 
 Common Quaker
 Common Quaker
 Hebrew Character
Dotted Border