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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 ...

27th April – 3rd May

South-westerlies continued for the first couple of days then an easterly element returned once again bringing with it cooler temperatures, particularly after dark. Several showers and longer periods of rain in between sunshine ensured that the grass kept growing. May opened with overnight rain on the 1st followed by some heavy thunderstorms.

Oswald and I kicked off the week with a late morning walk towards the village from the pay and display at Cart Gap. Birds weren’t obviously visibly moving through but there were several
Linnets on the ground and amongst c.10 scattered Pied Wagtails I finally chanced upon a nice male White Wagtail. This race, the nominate of the species, is widespread across continental Europe and is a regular spring passage visitor to East Anglia in small numbers. A female Yellow Wagtail accompanied a male Pied on the sugar beet field immediately south of Doggetts Lane and at least 6 male Common Whitethroats were singing from the hedgerows and chalet gardens; it’s looking like a good year for them so far. Wheatears were at the most numerous I have seen them this spring and I tallied 8 in total along the track. A few large immature gulls were loafing on the groynes off the old Decca site and with them were 2 Sandwich Terns. These posts, quite close to the beach, are a favourite resting place for terns in between fishing forays and close views can be had. To rest awhile on the soft sand here on a warm sunny day, close your eyes and listen to their raucous grating calls is a wonderfully relaxing experience.

Sandwich Terns are a regular summer time sight on the remains of sea defences offshore from south of the village.

I had to run an errand up to Walcott during the early evening and took the minor road north which rejoins the coast road via Ostend. Scanning the field behind The Chimneys were another 2 Wheatears, a male and female. Rare as a breeder in NE Norfolk this pair had probably just stopped off to rest and feed en route to more northerly nesting grounds. Returning home from Walcott I decided to check along the narrow lane that runs between Rookery Farm and the telephone exchange. It turned out to be a good move, for a brief flight view of a silvery-winged thrush which prompted further investigation ended up with me watching no less than 6 Ring Ouzels in the hedge surrounding the lush pasture there. It was my second encounter with the species this year and a reasonable sized flock too.

The first three days of May were rather quiet on the bird front but I did hear my first Cuckoo, from the garden on the 3rd, and Holly Blue butterflies appeared locally. Once again the male Marsh Harrier appeared hunting over the fields near College Farm and some second-hand info left me feeling rather envious of one of Happisburgh’s sons and birder Mick Hannant, who had heard a Stone Curlew calling from cropped fields at Cart Gap during the morning of May 3rd. The Stone Curlew is a summer visiting specialist bird of heaths and stony arable land, the Brecks and close surrounds being its stronghold in Norfolk. To find one on passage is quite fortunate and I’d missed a rare opportunity to add it to the list of birds I’ve seen in Happisburgh…

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