The weather forecast was consulted and the decision made, we would go out early so as to catch the good weather in the morning. Alarm set and we were true to our word, up and out and we were arrived at Salthouse fairly bright and early! As we got out of the car we realised it was considerably colder than recent days. Now we knew it would be a bit colder but we really were not expecting the wind!
Off we set, heading for Gramborough hill and we before long I spied a couple of Ringed plovers but were they Little ones I wondered? Even through the binoculars it was hard to see as they were, of course fairly distant and on the move a lot, but yes indeed they were Little ringed plovers.
It was good to be able to watch them for a while scurrying around.Battling cold and wind we moved on Linnets were flying past in groups, making occasional stop offs.
We walked around the hill but couldn’t find anything else of interest, so we set off for Little eye. The walk along the shingle bank was a bit of a battle against the wind it amazes me that birds can still fly on such days!
I have said before that Little eye, Salthouse is one of my favourite placed and that Wheatears are my favourite birds so it doesn’t take much imagination to work out that Wheatears on Little eye are a real treat! The weather didn’t feel a bit like it but seeing Wheatears there made it feel like spring!
We saw a couple of Stonechats and plenty of Skylarks and Meadow pipits like the one here.
We left Salthouse for a coffee stop at Cley and to see what else was in the area before deciding where to go next. There had been a Whimbrel seen from the East bank at Cley a day or so ago so we decided to try our luck at that. No luck, in fact it was very quiet there and the rain was slowly arriving. We saw this single Ruff before heading for cover and decided to call it a day.
I was home for several hours and a couple of hot drinks before I started to defrost! I think the past few outings have spoiled me somewhat when it come to weather. A few days ago the temperature peaked at 16 degree today it managed a meagre 7 degrees but at least the birds are still showing up!
April 1st felt more like a summers day than early spring but we weren’t complaining! On the first of the month we didn’t venture far (having trekked the coast all day yesterday) so stayed pretty local. We did however have a lovely walk on a beautiful sunny day and get our first tick of the month so we were well pleased!
We went back to the private hide; having now got a second permit for Ian and there we were treated to plenty of little visitors. We had taken seed and nuts with us and I trampled through the mud to position them so as to entice the small birds in. I felt rejected for some time as no-one came, but later once one came and the word spread so along came many!
The little Wren was probably my favourite, if I couldn’t see it I could hear it and it was soon back flitting around again.
Blue and Great tits enjoyed the food we offered as did a lovely pair of Chaffinches.
A Dunnock was happily feeding on the earth until another one landed on the log, where I had placed some food, he was up there in a shot chasing the other one away. Honestly there was plenty for them both but the idea of sharing obviously hadn’t reach the bird world yet! Of course a beautiful, though noisy, Pheasant was a frequent visitor.
There were plenty of geese on the water and they, like the Dunnock, seemed to be in feisty mood. The moment another one appeared on the water anywhere near them they would chase them off, I assumed it was a male seeing off a rival but I don’t know for sure!
Here we come to the tick part of the day! The sky really was beautiful and we were treated to views of Kestral, Buzzards and a Red kite but the best moment of the day was when three, yes you heard correctly three Swallows flew over! A year tick and one that is always lovely to see, I know one Swallow doesn’t make a summer but three together make a jolly nice spring! I am including the only snap I got as these birds flitted and swooped around. There will be plenty more to come and I am sure later one will pose on a wire for me!
On Saturday we headed to the coast again keen to find some migrants, we had more luck than our last visit! The day felt as though birds should be arriving for the summer, the temperature peaked at 16 degrees which to be honest is warm enough for me at any time of year!
Having mentioned Ian’s health previously I am happy to say that I think he is getting a bit better, the tablets are indeed working, phew! Walking seems to be getting a little easier and whilst I know he is still not his usual self it is a relief to think he is getting there and once the next lot of tablets kick in as well who knows!!!
We began at Titchwell and were lucky to see a pair of Little ringed plovers, distant but clear enough to ID. We walked along to the sea (which was looking far stiller than on our last visit) where some Scoters were sitting on the water and some people were spotting Terns in the far distance but we couldn’t see them, never mind.
We moved on to Cley and instead of the main reserve we first went to the sea and on Eye field we found the bird we had been waiting for, my favourite bird a Wheatear. If you have ever visited my home you will find confirmation of my fondness for them !
We were also pleased to see a Sandwhich tern flying over the sea, summer is on the way the birds are returning, fabulous! There was no shortage of Black-headed gulls but however common they are they really are looking smart now and as usual this one was very vocal!
So that is four ticks for April, a good beginning I feel and our bird total is now 170
Also moths are picking up in both number and variety so I thought I would show you just two recent ones. A brindled pug and an oak beauty, both new for us and now our moth total for the year is 17. We also got another butterfly yesterday, a peacock. in fact Peter was in our garden and I got a phone message saying there was a Peacock in the garden, took a moment before I realised he meant butterfly!
To celebrate Ian’ birthday we had a family lunch yesterday and it is quite tricky trying to plan a surprise lunch when the other person is around all the time! I did persuade him out to golf one day so I did some rapid cooking which thankfully Peter ‘hid’ in his freezer!
Below you will see him with the fantastic cake made by our daughter Ruth aka Roo! Ian has Cornflakes for breakfast every day, yes honestly every day, so you can see what a great design choice the cake was! Thank you to all who celebrated with us, (including our son, Andrew in USA via FaceTime) or sent him greetings.
April should be a good month for us with birds returning and us planning to visit places further afield soon, I am very optimistic!