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 ...

3rd – 9th February

"February fill dyke, black or white" says the old, local adage, but so far it remains largely dry and mild with the wind mostly from the SW and no iminent snow. We did briefly see SE'ly at the beginning of the week and a light NW'ly on the 6th. The week started off feeling cold, becoming milder towards the end except in any of the frequent passing showers. Several days saw extended bright sunshine.

A welcome addition to the parish year list was seen on the afternoon of the 4th. As I returned homeward with Oswald close behind, a pale bird across the fields caught my eye. It disappeared behind a hedge almost immediately and given the time, 4.25pm, I assumed it would be the local Barn Owl out foraging. I was therefore more than pleased when a splendid male Hen Harrier appeared. I watched captivated as he flew low and slowly southward in full view for a minute or so until he disappeared, doubtless heading for the raptor roost in northern Broadland. The Hen Harrier isn’t exactly a rare bird but it is still much maligned and wrongly persecuted over much of its range. The brown females/juveniles outnumber the handsome grey males so to see one is always exciting. As he passed by, 15 Fieldfares sitting in a tree looked completely nonplussed by this potential predator.

A male Hen Harrier; always special to see.
Our wintering Pink-footed Goose numbers have reduced noticeably now and a small flock passing overhead after dark on the 7th were betrayed only by their calls, a sound I always love to hear. It will be many months before we can again enjoy the spectacle of huge flocks crossing back and forth across Happisburgh’s skies.

With the days getting ever longer birds continue to anticipate spring and their impending focus on pairing up and breeding. As I was walking near the lighthouse on the 9th a male Skylark delivered his spirit-lifting descant whilst dancing high above the fields. Although present throughout the winter in small roving flocks this individual is the first I’ve heard in song here this year. The pair of Grey Partridge was also along the road to Cart Gap, only a short distance from where I had seen them previously. It was indeed a most beautiful day following on from a light early morning frost and you could almost be forgiven for forgetting it was still February. However, a Fieldfare and 12 Redwings feeding along a field edge close to the water pumping station at Whimpwell Green served as a reminder that winter could still bite back hard...

No comments: