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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 ...

15th - 21st June

The recent run of N’ly orientated winds came to an end on the 17th with the wind becoming more S’ly biased for the remainder of the week. It tended to be breezier during the middle part but noticeably warming up later in the week with the change in wind direction. Some light rain fell on Thursday and Saturday, although warm, was grey and drizzly.

The male Turtle Dove was once again crooning unseen from some trees across the field here on Sunday morning and 12 Geese heading NW late in the day looked rather unseasonal until it became apparent that they were Greylags, no doubt from the feral Broadland population. A male Grey Partridge put in an appearance at Cart Gap and, although I haven’t seen the species for several weeks, I suspect he’s probably been keeping his head down while his partner incubates her precious clutch of eggs. Early June is a critical time for nesting gamebirds when their newly hatched chicks are most vulnerable, and fortunately this year hasn’t seen the cold, wet and windy weather that we suffered at this time in 2007. Other young birds were again encountered on the daily walks, their eagerness to be fed evident in their noisy calling to parents; as well as the commoner Tits the young of Chaffinch and Goldfinch were all noticed.

June movements of Swifts are a regular feature along the Norfolk coast and during a brief early evening walk between the Coast Watch and the caravan site they were passing quite low southward over the clifftop field in good numbers. A 15 minute count revealed a passage rate of over 300/hour moving through. Passing along the lane near the church I noticed a small grey bird perched on a branch under some tall shrubs in a garden. It was a Spotted Flycatcher, another summer visitor whose numbers have suffered of late. They are quite late in reaching the UK, the second half of May being the usual time to start seeing them, but this was my first of the year.

The sea didn’t produce anything unusual for me despite a few visits with only small numbers of Sandwich and Common Terns recorded and c.15 Gannets were seen on the 19th. It was a reasonable week for raptors though with another Hobby just into East Ruston on Wednesday, 2 Marsh Harriers at nearby Wayford on Thursday with the regular male hunting here on Friday but pride of place goes to the Red Kite that passed directly over our garden on the morning of the 19th. I was putting our green bin out for collection when a sixth sense made me look up (although my neighbour says I’m always looking up!) to see a large bird with a twisting tail heading my way. Grabbing my ‘bins’ I had a terrific view as it slowly circled overhead, watching me watching it, before it drifted off towards Lessingham village. It was a bit tatty and bore no wing-tags, so wasn’t a directly introduced bird, but whether it possessed a truly wild lineage will go unknown. Shortly after this I took an eager Oswald out in the pleasant sunshine and we hadn’t gone too far when a Sparrowhawk missing a primary feather in its right wing was briefly in view overhead. Minutes later I heard the call of Sparrowhawk and looked up to see a different bird, a male, giving slow wing beats and with his under tail feathers spread out in display posture. Thinking he was probably displaying to the first sighted bird, I was a bit surprised when a fully winged female missing one or more central tail feathers appeared and began to circle with him. From where 3 Sparrowhawks had suddenly appeared, and displaying too, I have no idea; we don’t exactly have any sizeable tracts of woodland close by. Perhaps one of the more mature wooded gardens nearby suits the needs of this particular pair…

Red Kites are a welcome sight once again over much of the UK thanks to a very successful reintroduction scheme. Hopefully we will see them as a county breeder in the not too distant future. © Arthur Grosset

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