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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 ...

1st - 7th June

There was an element of N’ly to the wind daily with the exception of Wednesday when S-SW was the order of the day and the wind strength was by and large, light throughout. Generally cloudy, the sun made few appearances this week and most days saw some precipitation. The week drew to a close on a rather foggy note.

The highlight of the week in the parish for me would probably be considered a ‘lowlight’ by many; a good bird that was not seen quite well enough to be 100% certain of its identity. One that got away! A Raven had been seen in east Suffolk at the end of May so a large Crow flying towards me as I walked the dog towards the village on the 2nd warranted a quick look. It was, as I’d presumed, just a Carrion Crow but slightly higher and more distant was a large raptor. It was flying away in a NW’ly direction just inland from Happisburgh and the only views I had were from the rear as it got further away. It immediately struck me as a Buzzard type bird and its manner of flight was direct, with a ’flap, flap, glide’ action; the gliding being carried out on wings that were always distinctly down-curved in relation to the body. This is almost a trademark habit of Honey Buzzard, a scarce, summer visiting/passage bird of prey that breeds at a few sites in selected parts of the UK, including a pair or two in Norfolk. It also appeared, from my limited views, to be rather grey-brown in colour on the upperparts, but I really didn’t see it well enough at all to nail it. I called a couple of other birders along the coast but no further sighting was made. Despite not being able to confirm my tantalising sighting, the bird still stirred up a certain amount of awe and excitement that I’m sure many fellow birders will understand. Interestingly, in the few days prior to this, the German bird observatory on the island of Helgoland, some 30 miles from the German mainland coast, recorded Honey Buzzards in good numbers (e.g. 10 on 28th May, c.50 on 31st May, 13 on 3rd June) so it isn’t inconceivable that my raptor was a Honey that had drifted across the North Sea and passed through east Norfolk before reorienting to the east and heading out to sea.

The following day the male Marsh Harrier that has taken a liking to hunting over local fields was again busy towards Cart Gap and 2 Grey Herons circled slowly inland over Happisburgh Common, calling ‘frank’ as they went. The hedgerows along the lane towards The Star PH resounded to the calls of young Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits and the Great Spotted Woodpeckers continued to feed their noisy youngsters close to home, the breeding season thus far seemingly quite good in this corner of the county…

Long-tailed Tits ~ always good value for money
© Arthur Grosset

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