Archive for Apr, 2020



This little girl was particularly bold and confiding.

What could have been her mate was equally as bold when he hovered above us and stooped on what was probably a Field Vole just a few metres away.



Bits and Pieces

A few bits and pieces seen during the lockdown exercise walks in and around West Runton within the first half of April.

Quite a number of Stonechat wintered locally. Slowly numbers dwindled away in March/April as they moved back to their breeding areas

Thanks to Andy at Northrepps giving us ‘the shout’ a group of Cranes were picked up as they did their usual spring jaunt along the North Norfolk coast.

I’ve been surprised at the number of Red Kites seen on the coast this spring. I usually spend much of April each year in Scotland so never have a real chance of seeing these wonderful raptors on home turf

Wheatears are a wonderful hearald of Spring. Numbers got to around 17 in a single field on at least one day.

Given the lack of people around Foxes have been taking advantage and coming out more during the day. As a consequence we’ve found at least two dens we didn’t know where there.

Skylarks have been everywhere this April. Starting to pair and nest, fling North out to sea and coasting along the clifftops.

There have been four resident Kestrels entertaining us. This male was particularly bold.

We had up to eight Ring Ouzels in one field during the peak of passage

Several Green Woodpeckers around the village

Blackcap are now back in good numbers

Chiffchaff singing everywhere but few Willow Warblers at the moment

Lots of local Linnet but also a continuous movement east in the first few weeks of April



Just you try and steal my eggs!


Grey Wag

The problem with Norfolk, if it has a problem, is there are few fast running rivers. This has a corresponding effect upon the number of nesting Grey Wagtails, but there are a few. We saw this individual last month taking time out from courting and nest building to have a wash and brush-up.



Waxwings have been far and few between this last winter. Last month a few were flying from place to place in Salthouse here on the coast. Now Salthouse is not a big place. In fact it’s decidedly small. You would think a half dozen showy birds sat in trees would be easy to track down. In reality they were but getting good views of them wasn’t as easy. Salthouse if full of inaccessible nooks and crannies; hidden places that it is easy to overlook. Tania and I were lucky enough to be asked by a couple if we would like to stand in ‘their’ garden. They were holidaying here. Apparently the Waxwings had taken up residence in a tree by the decking. We duly took position and were even offered a cup of tea. There are some kind and lovely people in the world.

We didn’t have to wait long for them to appear.





They have to be one of the most beautiful spring flowers. Dog Tooth Violet.



There’s been a Caspian Gull at Sheringham for some months. Before the lockdown Tania and I walked along the prom to try and find it and got talking about the features of identification; how to distinguish an immature Caspian Gull from an immature Herring Gull. As we stood above a gathering of gulls on the beach I explained structure is key.

“A snouty appearance with long legs. Couple this with a pale head and a white rump and darker distal end tail feathers”. Are all good starting points.

Friend Bob’s photo on the front cover of the latest Norfolk Bird and Mammal Report is an excellent reference. We stared through the gulls and as if by magic it was there. Preoccupied in discussion we didn’t see it fly in!


Lockdown and Underpants

A short walk from the house is all we are now allowed. Observed by many, but on our daily walk to the sea and back sadly it is still being ignored by some who drive to the car park at West Runton. A necessary journey? I think not. If we all drove to our favourite place of exercise the petrol stations would be busier increasing contagion incidence. Anyways I’m sure you’ve heard enough about the CV.

On our walk the other day a Dunnock hopped up in front of us. This small common bird with its velvet grey underparts was so close we could have touched it. It sang with such gusto and volume it froze the both of us. Just for a second I was instantly transported back 18 or so years to when my daughter was learning to read. I was driving home to Suffolk from Birmingham after a long day at the office. I never seemed to arrive home before little Holly was tucked up in bed so we had a daily half hour on the hands free as I was driving home. Her favorite pastime was to test her dad by reading out the descriptions in her bird book; and I had to guess the species. The description of Dunnock sticks in my mind. I was reliably told it was a small brown backed bird with grey underpants! From the mouth of babes.

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Apr 2020


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