APRIL 2021

At the start of the month the male Siskin was joined by a female, they visited the feeders on a couple of days but were not seen as the month progressed, hopefully breeding somewhere. There had been plenty of White Tailed Eagle sightings around the county and a few close by so I was keen to add this to the patch and hopefully the garden list. Thanks now go to Sarah, whilst in the garden on the 9th of the month she looked behind the church, I was looking the other way, and immediately picked up on a bird of prey stating how large it was...there's no mistaking a eagle when its that low and sure enough we were watching a White Tailed Eagle! !. I ran indoors to grab my camera and realised it was drifting inland so off I ran down Church Road till I could see the eagle through an opening, now quite distant but close enough to get a couple of record shots. After waiting and missing out on this bird for the last few years I now had it in the bag!

Mid month we heard our first singing Blackcap of the year, a group of 40+ summer plumaged Golden Plover were frequenting the ploughed field off Church Road. On the 20th my first Wheatear of the spring, last year I failed to see any during the spring instead having to wait till the autumn migration. Despite the cold northerly weather the birds were trickling through, White Wagtail and Common Whitethroat soon started to pass through and within a few days there seemed to be Common Whitethroats holding numerous territories around. 3 Wheatear fed together in the potato field off middle street, fresh in and gone the next day. More Swallows and Sand Martins flew over the garden and a welcome bonus was a Ring Ouzel past. 
End of the month saw a movement of Whimbrel along the coast, I had some over the fields and over the garden. Common Buzzards were passing in good numbers some days, 8 in one group seemed to be having fun on the cliff updrafts.


MARCH 2021

 MARCH 2021.

Moving forward into March and the thought of Spring and just a little bit of wildlife around the corner, the memories of snow faded away. It was a mixed bag of weather, to be expected, with some misty foggy days and beautiful sunshine making it feel warmer even if the thermometer didn't mirror that!

It was a welcome sight to see that the harsh weather and banked up piles of snow on the road verges had not perished the Early Purple Orchids that emerge every year along the back lanes. This year there actually seemed to be double the amount of plants just starting to come up.

Moving into the second half of the month I was able to get my moth trap out and start the year list off, not expecting many species I was happy with the species I added. 
Hebrew Character
Brindled Beauty
Oak Beauty
Red Chestnut
There was a movement of birds starting to move about and the prominent one I was keeping an eye out for were Ravens. A number of reports were being circulated of one or two Ravens around the neighbouring villages, and on one morning I narrowly missed out on a pair over the Plantation wood along the clifftop fields, typical I walked the other direction that morning! But on the 21st whilst in the garden I heard the unmissable 'gronking' call of one passing along the coastline, excellent, I could now add it to the patch list and also the garden list, and if that wasn't good enough I had another bird fly over the garden and a possible sighting of a third later that day! 

Things ramped up a notch from the 25th of the month, I saw my first returning Sand Martin from the garden. With warm weather and blue skies the raptors started to move, I had 8 Common Buzzards over the house at one time and a lot of Red Kites were moving along the coastline, 5 passed in one group.

The very next day, the 26th, started in a bit of a panic! There were 3 Common Cranes moving along the coast heading my way, now these birds are not new for me here, I have seen a couple of groups but they have normally been heading away from me, and what happens most times is that they totally cut off this stretch of the coastline and head straight inland after Cromer back to the broads. The last sighting I read was at Sidestrand heading towards Trimingham!! Frantically searching the skies from the garden I thought I had missed them/drifted inland before me.....then they appeared low over the fields heading closer and this time I grabbed a few photos of them facing me for once.

A passing female Marsh Harrier finished the day nicely. 

On the 29th we saw our first Swallow of the year, soon to be followed by quite a few more and Sand Martins by the end of the month. On the 30th I had a male Siskin on the feeders, my first one to actually feed in the garden, it was joined on another day by female type.

So March was turning into a great month, but the icing on the cake came on the last day of the month....a male Hen Harrier passed low south past the house whilst I was sitting in the garden during the afternoon, I had missed female ( ring tails as they're known ) hen harriers before, tending to head across further inland, so actually seeing a male from the garden was a fantastic sight.

Weather dictates the start of 2021.

 January and February were dictated by the wintery weather, despite it looking like a winter wonderland and it was fun to walk out in it with the dogs, most people were happy for it to go and free the lanes up. 

Love seeing the feather patterning from the frosts.

The lanes were totally covered, with drifts at least 4ft in depth if not more in places.

The road is at least 4ft under the snow here.

During the second dumping of snow and cold weather during February we witnessed a large arrival of Woodcock, there were birds flying in off the coast and between the houses looking for cover, a couple of fields had a grassy crop still in them giving good cover and here we saw a couple of groups of Snipe in with the Woodcocks, the same field also held a pair of Chinese Water deer, probably a welcome habitat to hide them against the stark white landscape.

These two lanes were clear the day before, but with strong winds drifting the snow off the fields the roads were covered once again.
When the snow eventually melted the plants and bulbs soon came back to life and celandines started to brighten the lane verges, geese seemed to be moving around as the month came to an end with a couple of White Fronts, Barnacle, Pink Feet and Greylags passing over, a Grey Plover past the garden was a new garden tick and very much welcomed, Red Kites and Buzzard sightings increasing so as we go into March and being allowed to once again bird things should be more brighter.

End of 2020.

 December and a look back at my highlights.

Not much to report during December, plenty of geese back and forth over the village and still a lot of Blackbirds are around. Finch numbers are up on their groups with a lot of Chaffinch around my house. The only other note during the month was a mouse up in my bird feeder halfway up the tree! 
With little of note here are some of my highlights of 2020:
This Ring Necked Parakeet put in an appearance over a couple of the days during the spring.
This Rough Legged Buzzard was reported further along the coast during the morning of the 25th April, how lucky was I to see it fly over my house, then if that hadn't sealed the day a Osprey flew along the coast whilst I was in the garden.
During the summer months with the birding quieter except for local breeding birds, my attention turned more to mothing, and the onset of some new species kept me trapping as much as possible in the hope of something rarer, here are some of the new garden additions caught through summer.
Scalloped Hook-Tip
My first Lime Hawkmoth was a very welcome tick.
​Varied Coronet​
​Canary Shouldered Thorn
The approach of autumn brought the prospect of some migrating birds and a new wave of autumnal moths.

​The arrival of the Pied Flycatchers have been lovely the last couple of years, I hope this is repeated every year, this year the numbers were up on the previous and I never tire of photographing these birds.​

​ Centre Barred Sallow (above) and Sallow.
​This seasonal moth is appropriately ​named..the Autumnal Rustic.

​We had a welcome move in weather during October and easterlies started to bring birds in, I was so pleased to find a little Siberian Jem along the lane past the church, the stunning Pallas's Warbler. What a little beauty and my highlight of the year.
​Pallas's Warbler​

​And if that wasn't enough I was able to see at least 3 different Yellow Browed Warblers, not as scarce as the Pallas's but still a great bird to see.
Yellow Browed Warbler​
As the autumn moved to winter I kept adding a few moths to the year list, but the weather was to start having a effect on how regular I got the trap out. One species I had been waiting for since moving here finally gave itself up, the beautifully marked Merveille Du Jour.

Merry Christmas to all.