Songbirds and snowdrops

On her way out to do various visits I got Brenda to drop me at the north end of Lady Anne’s Drive as I wanted to have another look for the firecrest: No luck, but I did see a lot of long-tailed tits along with the usual good selection of ducks, waders and raptors. So far this year this has been an excellent spot for birds, and is rapidly becoming a favourite point for a walk.

There are still a few very common birds which I haven’t seen so far this year, and so it just becomes a question of when they might turn up in range of my binoculars. That happened today in one of the fields east of Lady Anne’s Drive when two song thrushes flew in (going out on a limb here I don’t think “thrushes” is a very good plural, I prefer my own made up version “thrae”. I don’t suppose I will start campaigning for it to be adopted…and to be honest you’ll get some strange looks if you start saying to people “Did you see those song thrae over there?”. Ah well…it amuses me at least.).

song thrush (photo taken 2013)

I headed south back to the coast road and crossed over into Holkham Park for the walk back to our house via some rather lovely woodland. It’s relatively quiet at the moment but – as Brenda observed yesterday – it will soon be much busier as the breeding season commences.

I saw this female blackbird today at the edge of the parkland – a bird often overlooked, but rather lovely

The final section of this walk takes me through the farmland that runs from the edge of Holkham Park to the edge of Wells. The fields were full here – hundreds of wood pigeons, several red kites, a flock of about 40 jackdaws, gulls wheeling overhead, greylag and Egyptian geese in the fields alongside several grey partridges, and – passing over – large skeins of pink-footed geese and brent geese. The fields were also home to at least thirty hares.

a greylag goose in one of the fields near our house today

Brenda writes: “Two new flower species today – give nature a little bit of warmth and off it goes! I was updating the noticeboards around the parishes, which is a great opportunity once a month to see what’s in the churchyards. Holkham parish church is just inside the north wall of the Holkham estate surrounded by old woodland and, as I walked into the churchyard, I saw a little cluster of winter aconites with their beautiful yellow flowers. It’s a wonderful spot where I nearly always hear nuthatches in the trees and today there were also two red kites drifting overhead.

winter aconites and snowdrops at Warham

Then at Warham St Mary Magdalene there were lots more aconites among the snowdrops. I’ve also taken another photo of the clump of snowdrops I recorded back in January – I’m not sure if they are the Warham snowdrop but they’re magnificent.

the Warham snowdrop?

Warham has two churches and the highlight of my day was when I was at the parish church, All Saints: Getting back into my car and moving off I was astonished to see a barn owl sitting on the top of a headstone. You never know what you might see! And the other flower? The humble common chickweed, a sprawling ground cover plant which has tiny white flowers.

common chickweed

New species for February 3rd:
Birds: song thrush
Flowers: winter aconite, common chickweed

Birds = 115
Moths = 2
Wildflowers = 14