Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Track

The Track runs from the southern edge of the village westwards towards East Beckham. It is just a public footpath that spans across arable land with open veiws to pretty much all points of the compass. This, and watching from the garden, are the mainstay of the bird observations I record at Aylmerton.

The Track featuring Maddy, partner in crime!

Although a fairly unassuming looking spot I have seen some excellent birds and other wildlife from here, the list includes Little Egret, Kittiwake, Mediterranean Gull, Arctic Tern, Red Kite, Montigu's Harrier, Short eared Owl, Kingfisher, Richard's Pipit, Golden Oriole and Snow and Lapland Bunting, plus Red ,Roe and Chinese Water Deer, and on one glorious day in August, a Camberwell Beauty. From late Feb through to mid November I will walk this track virtually daily, sometimes twice but never knowing what I will see next!
Today from the track a nice group of 17 Pied Wagtail were feeding in the ploughed fields, maybe in a couple of weeks time we might have a nice early White wagtail drop in.
Also noted:
Woodpigeon 1500
Kestral 1
Grey Heron 2
Meadow Pipit 2

The Barn Owl was hunting mid afternoon today and was present for about 1/2 an hour, just as the sun disappeared behind a big cloud!

Barn Owl

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Since Sunday morning we have been in a run of grotty weather with cold , wind and rain, in many combinations, day and night. The Spectacle still survives, albeit dormant, under the shed eaves and a group of Grey lag Geese have been on the southern border fields after having been a cover crop that has just been ploughed back in. The lack of current obs tends to lend to looking back which then results in birders making lists! The Garden list currently stands at 124 total with 53 for the year. My Parish list is 149. We need more waders and the sea levels to rise 400 feet for some pelagic birds!!

Looking east across village with Cromer - Holt ridge on horizon.

Saturday, February 18, 2006


A crisp bright sunny day for the most part brought a real feel of spring today. The Golden Plover numbers have picked up again with c130 on the field with Black headed and Common Gulls. The Sparrowhawks are starting to display, soaring high up then dropping at speed before pulling up again, as though they were riding in an invisable Big Dipper! At least two Brown Hares were present on the spring barley field but didn't venture towards our end. Birds in the garden today included a pair of Goldfinch, the male singing his heart out in our Oak tree, typically I grabbed the camera only to realise that I hadn't recharged it after using it last!
Had the trap on last night even though it was fairly cold, nothing could be lured inside but around it were 3 Early Moths and a single March Moth, another new moth for me and bang on cue, being on the wing from mid Feb through to March. Year tick no. 6!

March Moth

One of the pupae have also hatched, and after initially being unable to find it in my moth book I looked at it a little closer with a head-on veiw and it became obvious that it was in fact a Spectacle. This moth shouldn't be out until May so I think it may have been a little too well nurchered!


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Barn Owl

Had the trap on again for a couple of hours last night, cooler and fairly clear, a catch of 3 Pale brindled Beauty and a Spring Usher was to be more expected than the numbers earlier in the week.
Had a flock of a dozen Siskin fly south over house at dawn, we sometimes get them on the feeders around this time of year so will have to keep a look out for them.
As I arrived home from work a white blob in the meadow hedgerow looked very much like a plastic shopping bag but Iwas glad to see it was the local Barn Owl sat out in the open staring intentley into the field below. Alas the sun was just hitting the horizon so I had to up the ISO on the camera to get some 'noisy' record shots.

Barn Owl

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Taste of things to come?

Good day yesterday , considering it was a week day and I was at work! Managed to wangle a job in Norwich today that happened to take me down Earlham Road where some Waxwings have been seen regularly. There were 8 there, always a pleasure to see these enigmatic birds, a pair were even in courtship with a female appearing to 'kiss' the male as the hopped to and fro on the same branches. Also here a male Blackcap was in vigorous song a definite sign of spring!
Last night it was calm, mild and damp- perfect conditions for light trapping, and so it proved!
From just after dusk to midnight a total of 18 moths were taken, with 12 Pale brindled Beauty's, 5 Spring Usher's, and a new one for me, an Early Moth . The Beauty's were all of the green patterned type and the Early Moth was definately a male because the females can't fly. This takes the years garden moth list to....5! Great stuff, its like starting birding from scratch so nearly every time you go you get a new species!

Pale brindled Beauty

Pale brindled Beauty's

Spring Usher

A different Spring Usher

Early Moth

Sunday, February 12, 2006


With work commitments on Saturday and a day of constant rain today, very little recorded on the wildlife front. A pre-work dog walk yesterday morning coincided with three flocks of Pink footed geese flying west over the house (320) , with further flocks noted very distantly. After their arrival in September we get them most mornings flying east , presumably after coming off roost in NW Norfolk, heading for Broadland feeding areas. Then at this time of year small groups in the Broadland areas seem to head back west probably before moving off to their breeding grounds.

Pink footed Geese

We were visited by this 'micro moth' during the week, settling under the lounge lamp, after a few inquiries it was established as a Codlin Moth, a species that shouldn't emerge until May /June time. I think we'd better turn the heating down! Thanks again to Dean @ and the guys @

Codlin Moth

Monday, February 06, 2006


Managed to capture two moths last night, a fine haul! First up another Pale brindled Beauty of the patterned type. These moths also come in a melansistic (black) form, a specimen of which can be seen at , whether this form is more common the further north you go I am unsure.

Pale brindled Beauty

The second was a new one for me, a Spring Usher. This moth didn't enter the light trap but was on a nearby door, it is another of the early moths and can be quite variable to very plain, luckily this one is excellently marked. The years moth total now stands at.....4!!

Spring Usher

Spring Usher (using flash)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Much of a Muchness

Things pretty static still this weekend with the usual birds still present around the garden and village. Did note 4 adult Great black backed Gulls moving north , we usually see these after strong winds but may be they are starting to move north towards breeding areas. Had a lonesome Long tailed Tit at the feeders briefly, these have been notable for their absence this winter.

Long tailed Tit

Pair of Greenfinch

My wife was unfortunate enough to get a car puncture Saturday evening just 1 mile from home! I duly had to go out to assist and after scrabbling around underneath the car I managed to capture this moth that dropped down infront of the headlights, a Chestnut.


Had a walk up to the wet meadow this afternoon to see if I could get the Grey heron on film, no sign of him but there were 4 Snipe present, every one of them keeping a low profile.

Common Snipe