As I walked from the front door into the garden on Wednesday I looked up to see the distinctive shape of a Red Kite. The bird flew strongly west followed by a Buzzard and then a Marsh Harrier. A raptor passage in North Norfolk was on the cards. Flat bottomed Cumulus clouds meant there were some strong thermals rising and the birds of prey were taking advantage; using them to move north and west along the coast.
Amid a cloud of Buzzards and Sparrowhawks we saw a larger paler bird. A Rough legged Buzzard on the move. Perhaps having wintered in the southern counties or even on the continent, the bird was now making a trek north to breed.
On the cliffs were a host of Wheatears and included within them a larger bolder bird – a ‘Greenland Wheatear’ resting before continuing its mammoth journey north to breed. The ‘chak chak’ of a Ring Ouzel gave away the presence of a pair in the hedgerow. Maybe these are the birds we will see in the Scottish Glens on the first of two April trips north at the weekend. I adore Ring Ousels; their neat white bibs and silver wings give a marked contrast to their otherwise jet plumage.
Waders are scarce in this part of Norfolk. There is little standing water to attract them here. As I stood against an irrigation pool I heard a small wader call above me. She flew down to take rest at the water’s edge. The little madam did not land at the far side of the water but close to me, close enough to grab a shot or two. She was in transitionary plumage; a ball of spots and streaks, a half way house between her winter and breeding garb, a longish bill indicating her gender.
Nice to see so many things on the move.