This website is best viewed using Firefox v.3

Thanks for taking time to visit the 2008 Happisburgh Bird Diary, we hope you enjoyed reading it. To find out what Ossie and I see this year please visit the Happisburgh Parish Bird List 2009 ...

10th – 16th February

Anti-cyclonic conditions prevailed for the week, clear skies and very light winds resulting in some overnight frosts and mist with lots of now warming sunshine during daylight hours. Because of the latter, insects have been waking up. ‘Mozzies’ and the odd Bumblebee have been evident and a Peacock butterfly was on the wing along the lane on the 12th. The 13th started the same way but by early afternoon we were lost in a thick fog and it felt rather cold. Cloud cover and a NE’ly breeze on the 14th kept the fog at bay and there was some drizzle for a time, but sunny skies returned for the last two days with the wind staying fixed from the continent.

One of Happisburgh Common's resident Barn Owls; a familiar sight.

Throwing the curtains back on Sunday morning the first thing to draw my attention was the regular Barn Owl hunting the meadows. Often we don’t see him here for several days at a time but this morning he clearly found this quarter of his territory to his liking. I had the opportunity to take Oswald out for a longer walk than normal this morning so decided to head away from the Cart Gap end of the parish and try some paths that were new to us. I didn’t see anything too exciting but some good hedgerows and paddocks with the potential to attract birds later in the spring were noted. It didn’t matter too much though as we both enjoyed the walk and I was feeling somewhat overdressed by the time I got home, such was the warmth from the sun. Nearer to home, the flock (or wisp) of Snipe that I saw early in January were again in the same place, their numbers now having increased to at least 10. They are obviously finding the feeding to their liking here. In the backyard at dusk, some familiar calls alerted me to 200+ Pink-footed Geese as they flew over quite high heading for NW Norfolk or beyond. Although numbers passing here have really dwindled now, there are still several hundred in Broadland and I wonder if perhaps they are getting their fill of the now growing, nutrient rich grass to increase their energy reserves before the spring exodus from the county.

Before the Monday morning mist cleared, a dense Ivy in the garden became the brief cafeteria for a Goldcrest. Britain’s smallest bird (along with its brighter cousin, the Firecrest) I never tire of watching them, they are charismatic little birds, and the dark green of the Ivy really enhances the paler greens of the Goldcrest’s plumage. Before long he was off, over the fence to visit a neighbour’s leylandii, silent whilst Wren, Robin, Song Thrush, Greenfinch and Chaffinch all sang nearby.

The Yellowhammer is a common sight around the narrow, hedged lanes of NE Norfolk.

At the weekend, we headed again up to the lighthouse fields where Oswald enjoys a good run. On the way up there Fieldfares and Redwings, 16 and 10 respectively, were foraging on Lower Farm’s grass and 10+ Greenfinches were joined in the hedgerows by 7 Yellowhammers. I’d not seen these buntings here before and wondered if they had recently arrived, the easterly winds of late perhaps encouraging them across from the near continent. A large plover flock flying in from the west landed close to a small flood near Cart Gap and many began to bathe, at least 150 Lapwings and up to 1,000 Golden Plovers being the constituents. Most intriguing though were 2 Brent Geese circling low over the clifftop field here, a parish ‘year tick’. They appeared to be wanting to land and may have done so; disappearing over the ridge and out of sight, I didn’t find out. The coastal fields and marshes of North Norfolk are the more normal haunts of Brent Geese, the dark-bellied form being the common variant wintering in Norfolk. They can often be seen flying westward offshore in quite large and frequent skeins during autumn migration as they arrive from northern Europe. Brents have a penchant for the intertidal growing Eelgrass, Zostera, and seeing them on the deck in East Norfolk is slightly unusual.

No comments: