You’re having a Lark

It was quiet at Holkham when we arrived. I was surprised given the place is normally heaving at this time of year. Tania and I ‘rugged-up’ against the ripping northerly and ventured out onto the saltmarsh. It was good to see Marcus leading a tour and it was also good to have the opportunity to congratulate him on finding a first for Norfolk last week. He told us the Shore Larks had just flown south over the pines. We waited a while for them return but eventually ventured out onto the dunes to take a look at the sea.

I think it will be fortunate indeed if we get to grips with the species that may be within the Scoter flock offshore without a boat. Something to consider perhaps. The tide was out and the flock was just at the edge of my discernible vision. I couldn’t make out much detail at all. There were however a good variety of other birds offshore and we enjoyed sorting through them. Eventually the cold got the better of us and we ventured back into the pines… but not before encountering the recently returned Shore Larks.

Always good to see these Northerners. We had five birds on the saltmarsh. Numbers are not what they once were. Birdtrack data seems to indicate a real decrease within England. Although ‘historical’ records are poorly defined, the graph below indicates a reduction in records (if you know the definition used by the BTO please let me know). Maybe birds are not coming so far south now. It would be good to have an up-to-date winter count throughout the whole of Europe at some point. However, I suspect these beauties are going the way of many of our former relatively easy to find winter visitors.

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Dec 2021


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