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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 ...

6th – 12th April

Weather-wise, it remained cold with wintry showers, the wind still blowing from a N’ly quarter. Overnight frosts occurred from 7th–11th and the wind had backed off to the south-west by mid-week. After an almost still day on 10th, the wind strength picked up and it remained chilly but from the south-east. The rest of the week saw the occasional shower pass by with a thunderstorm mid afternoon on 12th, and the wind shifting round to the south-west.

A Redwing was looking a little forlorn at the nearby paddocks on the 7th, the northerly wind persuading him to stay close to the sheltering hedges and put on fat reserves. He was gone the next day, the now W’ly breeze perhaps urging him to begin the next leg of his homeward journey. Indeed, the conditions that day were obviously suited to travel as visible migration was quite evident. Several Chaffinches, Greenfinches and Linnets were heading westward along the coast, Woodpigeons too in small parties of 2-3, one larger group numbering 7. A group of 3 Magpies also headed purposefully west along the clifftop and 2 Curlew flew southwards just offshore. Later that day, a flock of 42 Golden Plover passed over the garden, heading inland and a nice surprise came in the form of 2 male Bramblings. They were present in a tall poplar for about 45 minutes, disappearing just before dusk. A close relative of the Chaffinch, Bramblings are a winter visitor from more northern clines and they can often be found feeding beneath Beech on fallen mast, as well as on farmland mixed in with other finches. The feathers on these 2 were wearing nicely to reveal the beautiful orange of the breast and black of the head.

A colourful male Brambling.

SE’lies on the 10th saw more W’ly passage and along with
finches, Meadow Pipits and 10 Stock Doves passed through. I also saw my first hirundines of the spring; a Swallow was along the cliff by the old Decca site and walking Oswald homeward I picked up 4 Sand Martins hawking behind Moat Farm. One Swallow doesn’t make a summer but seeing the first one always gives a lift.

06:30 the next morning saw me walking along Doggetts Lane with the rising sun behind me. Things were rather quiet until a plain clear ‘zeet, zeet’ call coming from a dense bramble patch stopped me in my tracks. After a bit of patient stalking I was watching my 2nd Firecrest of the spring, a bird that you can never really tire of watching as they creep, flit and hover in a seemingly endless hunt for insects. A familiar shape atop one of the close-by chalets turned out to be my 2nd Black Redstart of the spring, albeit a dull female type. She soon disappeared and scanning up the beach from Cart Gap later on, I could see her on one of the wooden revetments, sheltered from the chilly breeze but in the warming sunshine. Further on, c.35 Sand Martins buzzed busily around the cliff edge, their summer nesting colony nearby. They have nested here for as long as I can remember, their eggs and chicks relatively safe from predation in the steep cliff face. A birding colleague passed this way later on noting that the Firecrest was still present (also present on the 12th) and finding 2 Wheatears. 40 Siskins he saw flying south were reflected later on by a singleton south, calling, over my garden…

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