A circumnavigation

Today I did a walk I’ve actually never done before – a circumnavigation of Holkham Hall lake. It was lovely to see full summer plumage great crested grebes, alongside plenty of pochard and tufted ducks, plus gadwall and quite a few little grebes. Kites and common buzzards were circling overhead and there were plenty of small birds including nuthatch and treecreeper.

A greylag goose in Holkham park

There were a lot of greylag geese on the grassy area between the monument and the hall, along with the resident flock of about 50 barnacle geese: Somehow I have managed to not see these until today! With birds like this it’s a slightly grey area as they may well have originated from a wildfowl collection, perhaps augmented by wild birds. But they are free flying and so I will count them in my 2023 list….I’m likely to see more obviously wild barnacle geese if I visit a reserve like Caerlaverock in Scotland next winter. In amongst all the geese were several oystercatchers and a handful of common gulls.

barnacle goose

I did see something I haven’t seen before – a raven mobbing a red kite! When I first started birdwatching ravens seemed to be limited to specific coastal cliffs and mountainous regions, and I remember being surprised – a couple of years ago – when I saw my first one in Norfolk. But apparently they breed in Holkham park now.

As I was walking along the path at the north end of the lake I got excellent views of a barn owl – still in complete daylight. It was perched on a post, and the took off to hover over the marshy ground for a few seconds before alighting on another post.

Brenda writes: “A little more traffic in the moth trap today: the usual suspects, hebrew character plus common and small quaker, but also a chestnut – the first I’ve had here; the ones I recorded before having been in Scotland. But there was a new one today, a micro. For reasons known only to the mothing community, it’s not good form to log micros with their common name (if they have one). It has to be the latin name. So today’s new customer was diurnea fagella. It is common and flies March – May. James comments that this is a very dark one. Their colouration ranges from this through to a pale silver grey. Hopefully I’ll see more as the season progresses.”

diurnea fagella

New species for March 30th:
Birds: barnacle goose
Moths: diurnea fagella