I did manage to get out early this morning, as did Brenda – to get to an early service she was taking. It’s always a little odd when the clocks change I think, but – as the late, great Douglas Adams once wrote – “Time is an illusion, lunch time doubly so”! What wasn’t an illusion was the strange state of some of the telegraph poles along the road from Feltwell to Southery in the fens: It’s a road that has always suffered from subsidence. We used to live in Feltwell, and know the road well from our time there.
I had about half an hour at Lakenheath in the morning and so just looked over the area known as the “Washland”, where there were a good variety of ducks – mallard, teal, wigeon, shelduck, shoveler, tufted duck and pochard – plus several great crested grebes, oystercatchers, a great egret and a variety of small birds including several chiffchaffs and Cetti’s warblers (heard but not seen!). I did get one slightly unexpected new species for 2023 as there were two sand martins flying around over the water to show that spring really is here.
After my rehearsals I decided to head back to Lakenheath for a couple of hours, as I would get there at about 5.15pm. I’m glad I did as it got me my 150th bird species for 2023 – a splendid male garganey!
In the slightly stormy evening conditions I also managed good views of five marsh harriers before heading home.
Brenda writes: “The only good thing about having to get up stupidly early on the day the clocks changed was that, as I walked down to Burnham Norton church for the 8.00am service, I heard my first chiffchaff of the year. As I drive from place to place the alexanders is now in full flower and there are drifts of red deadnettle on the verges. At Wighton there was another new species on the bank opposite the churchyard, ground ivy. It isn’t an ivy but behaves like one, creeping along the ground and putting down roots at leaf junctions. It is, in fact, a labiate like the dead-nettles. Members of this family can be recognised by their opposite leaves, four-sided stems and their flowers, which have tubular bases and open into a two-lipped mouth. Ground ivy has blue-purple flowers at the base of the leaves.”
New species for March 26th:
Birds: sand martin, garganey
Flowers: ground ivy