I had an amazing day for birds today. In the morning I spent a little time at Kelling Heath and again failed to see any Dartford warblers! However whilst driving from there to Cley I saw two red-legged partridge by the side of one of the minor roads near the heath and so I stopped to take a closer look, and for once they didn’t fly off but allowed me to wind down the window of the car and take some photos!
At Cley there was a torrential downpour, but I also discovered that two glossy ibis had been seen around the reserve and also a Temminck’s stint. Glossy ibis are another of the heron-type birds that have begun to colonise the UK through climate change, so they are becoming more and more common. So once the rain abated I headed to the main group of hides on the reserve before another huge storm cloud – which was rapidly approaching – arrived.
Once in the hide the heavens opened again, with the addition, this time, of thunder and lightning. Once that eased off I was able to look at what was around. This included a lovely curlew sandpiper – not an uncommon visit to Cley – which was just beginning to get it’s summer plumage; something I’ve not often seen.
In among the other waders – dunlin, black-tailed godwits, ruff, ringed plover, grey plover, lapwings, avocets redshank and a common sandpiper – was a solitary Temminck’s stint. Stints are tiny waders and I have seen Temminck’s before at Cley, but they are always lovely to spot, and this, with the curlew sandpiper, made two new species for the year. It was a little distant for a photo but I did get some recognisable shots.
Literally a minute after first seeing the stint the two glossy ibis flew over the hide, making a third new species for the year.
Finally this evening, on my way to my Norfolk Symphony Orchestra rehearsal in King’s Lynn, I stopped for half an hour or so at some tilled fields near Titchwell – the ones where I had failed to see dotterel last Friday (https://con-brio.com/spots-and-streams/). There was one other birder there, but he didn’t have a telescope and tripod, so I was left to try to find the birds, since binoculars alone were most likely going to be insufficient! I scanned the ploughed field slowly with my ‘scope: You would think that it would be easy to find these birds but it isn’t – they are remarkably well camouflaged, and the hope is that you can pick up any movement.
On a first careful scan I found several partridges, a flock of wood pigeons and a wheatear, but no dotterel. I decided to stay for a few more minutes and scan the field again…..and this time I was lucky, a small movement caught my attention, and there was a dotterel…..and then another, and another. I was quickly watching a group of seven birds wandering around the field. Wonderful! Looking them up later in my field guide I discovered that the females are somewhat more colourfully plumaged than the males in the summer and that the males do most of the incubation and rearing of the young!
I certainly didn’t expect four new bird species today!
Brenda writes: “There were two.moths in the trap this morning one of which was a pebble prominent. When I tried to take a photograph it decided it liked sitting on my finger. In profile prominents have a ‘bump’ on the back of their head.
I’ve had so few moths this year I asked James whether he thought there might be a problem with my trap but we reckon it’s just that it has been so cold here. Last night he had 49 moths and 22 species. I had 2 moths of 2 species. The difference? He lives near Ventnor on the south side of the Isle of Wight. I live on the north edge of the Norfolk coast. It is warmer tonight with no wind. Here’s hoping…”
New species for May 5th:
Birds: curlew sandpiper, Temminck’s stint, glossy ibis, dotterel
Moths: pebble prominent
TOTALS TO DATE:
Birds = 180
Moths = 26
Wildflowers = 74