Warblers and cranesbill

We both continue to be in a bit of a busy period compared – certainly for me though perhaps not for Brenda! – with earlier in the year, but today we did manage an hour or so at Lady Anne’s Drive where we headed west through the pines, briefly visited the hide that overlooks the fresh marsh and then headed back along the beach and dunes.

There are plenty of warblers singing now: We saw chiffchaff but also heard willow, sedge, Cetti’s and reed. Perhaps the most interesting bit of bird behaviour was at the edge of the pines, over the dunes, where there was a red kite being mobbed by two carrion crows. As I got binoculars on it it dropped the prey it was carrying onto the sand below – perhaps a small rabbit. The crows continued to harass the bird which made some circling attempts to head back for its food, but eventually flew high on a thermal and headed off over another part of the beach. I expected the crows to go and scavenge the dropped food, but they headed straight back into the pine trees. I can only presume that they were trying to keep the kite away from their nesting site and had already fed. I also half expected the kite to re-appear and head back to prey item, but it didn’t – at least while we were there. We had to walk to where this incident had happened on our way back to the car and saw that the propped food wasn’t a rabbit but a red-legged partridge. It will certainly have made a meal for something by now!

shining cranesbill with some spring beauty

Brenda writes: “It was nice to walk a stretch of the coast path west from Lady Anne’s drive, sit a while in the hide looking out over the meadows towards Holkham Park, and then walk back along the beach. As we walked back towards the pines there were some lovely, and quite extensive, patches of spring beauty by the path. I have been seeing dove’s foot cranesbill all over the place but on the bank was something that was similar – but not quite the same. Shining cranesbill has shiny leaves – which sometimes turn red later in the year – cut to half-way, and the flower petals are not notched. So I’ve now seen four members of the geranium family this year – common storksbill, dove’s foot cranesbill, shining cranesbill and herb robert – and there are many more yet to see…..”

New species for April 27th:
Flowers: shining cranesbill