01st Jul 2020

LIMOSA LOCKDOWN BIRDLIST

A gorgeous Swallowtail butterfly twice pays a visit to our garden and makes a welcome addition to our 'Lockdown Birdlist'...

In a bid to stop ourselves going too stir crazy during the current coronavirus lockdown, and to ensure we take at least a little exercise walking round the garden each day, we're keeping a Limosa Lockdown Birdlist from our home near Stalham in the Norfolk Broads. Follow the latest updates here!

One of the great joys of birding is that, no matter where you live, almost anything can turn up. Spring is an especially exciting time of year to enjoy some 'back yard' birding - albeit from the confines of one's own window or garden. Hearing the birds gives just as much pleasure as seeing them, so we count those too.

Why not give it a try? There's no better way to lift your spirits and you never know what you - or we - might see next!

Keep safe and stay well - and enjoy some 'at home' birding with us...

with our very best wishes
Chris & Barbara Kightley
Limosa Holidays



ANNOTATED SPECIES HIGHLIGHTS

Location: Limosa HQ
Start date: Tuesday 24th March 2020
LAST UPDATED: Wednesday 1st July 2020
Species count to date: 79 species


Wednesday 1st July

Buzzard - for a couple of weeks now, birds have been seen carrying food in the direction of Stalham Staithe / Sutton Fen. Another sighting at 8am this morning, being harried and pursued as ever by the resident Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls

Reed Bunting - the singing male seems to have taken up temporary residency in the paddock hedgerow, still singing his socks off at 7.45am this morning


Tuesday 30th June

Hobby - a record count for our garden list... at least 4 birds, possibly 5, visible (but only with binoculars) from the paddock, hawking at extreme height over Stalham just before 3pm today

Barn Owl - lots of noise and activity after dark this evening, with young birds calling from the nestbox and audible from the house, plus both adults very vocal and visible as shadowy silhouttes flying around the big poplar. Perhaps a 'food pass' from the male to the female?


Monday 29th June

Greenfinch - eating us out of house and home at the moment! Having emptied both birdfeeders twice yesterday, they were back in force this morning, with at least 10 birds (adults and juveniles) foraging on the lawn beneath the garden feeder (prior to our topping it up) - and yet more waiting for a refill of the feeder in the paddock

Yellowhammer - one heard singing (07.30am) down Chapelfield Lane to the south of the paddock

Reed Bunting - the singing male still present in the paddock at 08.00am this morning


Sunday 28th June

Lesser Whitethroat - one singing from the paddock hedgerow this morning

Reed Bunting - a singing male in the paddock hedgerow from (at least) 07.45am was an unexpected surprise. Still present until at least 4.30pm... and #79 for our lockdown birdlist


Saturday 27th June

Stock Dove - four, together with four Jackdaws, picking up spilled grain beneath the birdfeeder (05.30am)

Lesser Whitethroat - one singing from the paddock hedgerow this morning

Goldcrest - one restlessly moving from tree to tree in the paddock, gradually working its way south and away down the lane at 06.00am this morning was the first we've seen since commencing our lockdown birdlist (#78)

Yellowhammer - at last, some good news on the Yellowhammer front! A distant singing bird has (just!) been audible from the garden, but a couple of fields away to the south, on and off for at least a couple of weeks now, but tantalisingly always remaining unseen - until midday today, when the singing male appeared in a hedgerow tree alongside the paddock. Hoorah!


Thursday 25th June

Nuthatch - one gave a short burst of calls from the large ash tree alongside the paddock (9.33am), before flying on to the big poplar. After a minute or so it flew on, heading W over the house and lost to sight. Only our 3rd record here - the first on 2nd April 2011, the second on 23rd June 2018 - and #77 for our lockdown list. Curiously, the movements - as well as the date - of today's bird almost exactly mirrored that of the June 2018 bird

Ringlet - one in the paddock, our first record this summer


Wednesday 24th June

Lesser Whitethroat - one singing infrequently from Chapelfield Lane south of our paddock

Bullfinch - one calling from the thick hedgerow bordering the vegetable garden at 6.30am, before flying off west


Tuesday 23rd June

Coal Tit - one singing from the front garden this afternoon

Swallowtail - our second sighting this month, again visiting the valerian flowers on the gravel area outside the kitchen window at 4.00pm

burnet moth - our first of the year seen in the paddock this morning


Monday 22nd June

Hobby - one circling high over the garden at lunchtime (1.45-2.00pm)

Chiffchaff - one 'bathing' in the dew-laden grass beside the paddock first thing

Hedgehog - 'Harry' was back in the front garden again this evening (9.00pm)


Sunday 21st June

Sparrowhawk - an increase in the number of sightings of adults carrying food for young this past few days, all heading in the same direction, SW towards Barton Fen

Common Crossbill - two calling birds flew low and west over the paddock at 2.45pm this afternoon. The first record for our all time West End Farmhouse bird list and #76 for our lockdown list

Hedgehog - 'Harry Hedgehog' reappeared in the front garden at teatime this evening and set off through the laurel thicket towards the paddock (5.55pm)


Saturday 20th June

Lesser Whitethroat - one singing infrequently from Chapelfield Lane and the blackthorn hedgerow beside the paddock around 8.00am this morning

Coal Tit - 2 juvenile birds feeding in the paddock hedgerow

Meadow Brown - one on the valerian flowers beneath our kitchen window, our first record this summer


Friday 19th June

Buzzard - one feasting on a freshly killed young rabbit along one of the mown pathways through the paddock (12.20pm). One to three birds (minimum) almost constantly in view, whenever one chooses to scan around

Marsh Harrier - a cracking male, low and right over the garden (3.00pm), seen from the kitchen window

Hobby - one hawking for dragonflies over the farm barns at 12.15pm, reappeared over our paddock at 12.30pm and headed off S towards Sutton Fen

Oystercatcher - 4 'pipers' flew over the house at 06.00am, calling noisily

Cuckoo - it's getting late in the season now, but one heard calling to the south, along the Ant valley, at 04.15am and again around 07.00am

Carrion Crow - at least one pair has been successful nearby, as 2 or 3 'brown-headed' juveniles in the paddock this morning

Blackcap - not many birds singing at this time of year, but the male in the paddock area is still going strong so the first brood has presumably fledged

Yellowhammer - sadly, 2020 looks set to be the first year since we moved to Stalham in 2010 that there hasn't been any singing Yellowhammers (usually one or two pairs) along Chapelfield Lane throughout the summer months. I guess there's still time, but it's not looking promising...

Hedgehog - 1 scurried beneath our car parked on the front drive at 6.45pm this evening, the first we have seen in the garden here for several years


Tuesday 16th June

Painted Lady - one favouring the red valerian flowers beneath our kitchen window, our first record this summer


Monday 15th June

Red Kite - distant view of one drifting slowly west over Barton Fen at 5.30pm


Sunday 14th June

Coal Tit - one singing from the paddock hedgerow


Saturday 13th June

Pheasant - only one chick has survived, still dutifully shadowing mum (and with dad often in close attendance too) and most often to be seen loitering for fallen seed beneath the bird feeders. Has looked distinctly quail-like the past couple of weeks but now showing a sharply pointed and gradually lengthening tail

Cuckoo - one heard calling 07.15am to the south of Stalham Staithe, our first for some days now

Great Spotted Woodpecker - one in the tall poplar this morning

Jackdaw - two broods have fledged this month, one in the kitchen chimney, the other from a nest in a broken limb in the tall poplar

Linnet - one singing from the hedgerow at the far end of the paddock

Swallowtail - our first this year (and for quite some time) in the garden, present for at least 30 minutes from 11.30am today, feeding on foxgloves and white valerian on the gravel area outside the kitchen window

Swallowtail butterfly West End Farmhouse Stalham Norfolk 130620 ck IMG_2385 crop.jpg


Friday 12th June

Mallard - can you believe it... our 4th brood of ducklings in the walled garden this year! This time a female with 11 recently hatched ducklings. We left the side gate on to the lane open and they were gone by teatime

Marsh Tit - a single bird visiting both bird feeders (paddock and walled garden), our first since 7 May


Thursday 11th June

Coal Tit - one singing from the vegetable garden


Friday 29th May

White Stork - I woke at first light (03.15am) and slipped quietly out the back door, expecting to find our special guest still atop the chimney - but was surprised and disappointed to find it had gone! We were left to ponder if the noisy, low level flypast of two military helicopters after dark (ca. 10.30pm) yesterday evening had spooked it?...

At 8.30am however, the bird reappeared over the farmer's reservoir just to the south of our house! It circled slowly, giving great views and gradually gaining height before drifting off west - then returning E, passing directly over the garden in the direction of Stalham church. The gulls nesting on the church tower didn't take kindly to its presence and it moved off, drifting back and forth over Stalham Staithe before finally heading SE towards Sutton Fen just after 9.00am.


Thursday 28th May

WHITE STORK - We were astounded to find an adult White Stork (metal ring/s on left leg) standing on our kitchen chimney at 9.15pm this evening!! We phoned our neighbours and all enjoyed the remarkable sight. The bird was still present just before 10pm, when we returned to the house. It seemed very settled and looked 'nailed on' to roost on the chimney overnight... #75 for our lockdown list and the 'star bird' by a country mile!!

White Stork West End Farmhouse Stalham 21.20 hrs 280520 BK IMG_2341.jpg

(Upper) White Stork at West End Farmhouse, Stalham (21.20 hrs), 28 May 2020 © Barbara Kightley

White Stork West End Farmhouse Stalham Norfolk Jan & Laurie Platt 21.25 280520.jpg

(Lower) White Stork at West End Farmhouse, Stalham (21.25 hrs), 28 May 2020 © Jan & Laurie Platt


Tuesday 26th May

Egyptian Goose - 2 flew low over the paddock towards the staithe

Red Kite - one circling over the garden at 12.30pm before drifting off to the north. Possibly the same bird circling over the paddock at 5.50pm, drifting away to the south

Oystercatcher - nice to see our local pair is still about, seen and heard overhead on several occasions today

Cuckoo - distant bird calling along the Ant valley this morning

Barn Owl - all seems to be going well with our resident pair, we enjoyed some lovely long views of one hunting over the fields and farm reservoir after eight this evening

Common Whitethroat - male singing from the roadside hedgerow to the south of our paddock

Lesser Whitethroat - male singing from the hedgerow alongside our paddock at 13.30


Sunday 24th May

Pied Wagtail - a recently fledged juvenile in the front garden was presumably from our nest above the garage door


Tuesday 19th May

Red Kite - one with ragged, heavily worn flight feathers thermalled over the garden at 12.30pm before drifting away high to the south

Marsh Harrier - we see males passing over the house most days at this time of year, but today was the first female we've seen for quite a while - gliding off high to the SE towards Sutton Fen


Sunday 17th May

Pheasant - 'Mrs P's' brood has diminished and it looks like only 2 of the original 6 chicks are now surviving

Mallard - up to 7 birds regularly seen in or over the garden, our 'resident' pair spending much of their time foraging for fallen seed beneath the bird feeders, often to be joined by 'the Three Amigos' - 3 drakes that seem inseparable (and strangely oblivious to the noisy and close activity of our lawn mower)

Grey Heron - 2 flew E over the paddock in the direction of Hickling Broad, calling frequently

Little Egret - 1 flew S over the house at 8.00am, heading towards Sutton Fen

Cuckoo - 1 calling intermittently to the S, along the River Ant


Saturday 16th May

Pheasant - 'Mrs P' has somehow got her brood of 6 chicks from the walled garden (they presumably managed to squeeze through the small gap beneath the gate) into the vegetable garden and the wider countryside beyond

Red Kite - one thermalling about 400m to the south over Chapelfield Farm, drifted away high to the south at 10.00am

Hobby - one circling high over the paddock at 1.00pm

Sand Martin - one buzzed W over the paddock late afternoon


Tuesday 12th May

A rather better day than was forecasted, predominantly sunny and bright, with only light northerly winds

Pheasant - our resident female Pheasant has hatched a brood of 6 chicks somewhere within the walled garden, and they spent the day feeding around the lawn, avoiding the attention of Carrion Crows, Magpies and Kestrels

Dunnock - adult feeding 2 recently fledged young in the front garden this morning


Saturday 9th May

We made the most of another lovely warm and sunny day... ahead of the forecast cold N blow scheduled to reach us tomorrow

Egyptian Goose - 2 flew N over the garden at 7.00pm this evening

Bittern - our distant boomer still going, calling sporadically this morning

Hobby - one soaring high above the paddock late morning, in company with a male Sparrowhawk and 3 Common Buzzards

Common Whitethroat - male singing from the dead elm in the corner of the vegetable garden, then song-flighting along roadside hedgerow

Yellow Wagtail - one flew N over the house, calling twice, at lunchtime today (#74)


Friday 8th May

Another lovely warm and sunny day here in north Norfolk

Bittern - our distant boomer still going, calling from (at least) 02.45am this morning

Red Kite - one flew S, low over the house at 12.45pm

Cuckoo - a male flew from S to N over the paddock at 6.30am this morning, calling furiously as it pursued a second bird, both disappearing in the direction of Dilham / East Ruston. Another male calling on and off to the south throughout the morning, along the valley of the River Ant

Lesser Whitethroat - one singing along Chapelfield Road, to the south of the paddock late this morning

Pied Wagtail - pair carrying food to their nest in the canopy above our sliding garage door


Thursday 7th May

After a misty start, warm with blue skies, plenty of sunshine and patchy white cloud - Swifts are about in good number (20+) and 'our' Cuckoo and Lesser Whitethroat are singing again!

Canada Goose - very vocal first thing this morning (6.30am), somewhere to the south, along the River Ant

Barn Owl - one hunting beside the farmer's reservoir at 5.00am this morning

Swift - increased numbers about now, with 20+ moving between Stalham town and our garden

Sparrowhawk - a big female cruised over the paddock mid morning

Kestrel - our 'resident' pair very active today, enjoying the warmer conditions

Lesser Whitethroat - one singing down Chapelfield Road to the south of the paddock

Chiffchaff - one feeding in the silver birch by the owl box this lunchtime

Marsh Tit - one on the paddock birdfeeder (9.10am) was our first sighting in the garden for several months - and a welcome new addition to the 'lockdown list' (#73)


Wednesday 6th May

Bright blue skies with plenty of sunshine and patches of white fluffy cloud - but, after a calm start, by 8.00am that chill E wind is back again. Other than our two male Blackcaps, disappointingly little in the way of 'summer' bird song in the garden lately - no whitethroats (either species) and we haven't heard the Cuckoo since its first showing on 26th April.

Mute Swan - 2 flying over Chapelfield Farm towards Stalham Staithe

Mallard - we opened the gate into the walled garden this morning and, by lunchtime, mother duck and her brood of 12 were in the garden. It didn't take them many minutes to exit via the side gate into Chapelfield Road once we had opened it up for them (1.30pm) and they all quickly disappeared into the wet roadside ditch.

Barn Owl - great view of the male seen leaving the box at daybreak and flying right across the garden (05.00am)

Swift - a peak of 7 birds together over the paddock this morning, undeterred by the cold easterly breeze


Monday 4th May

Mallard - our 2nd brood of ducklings this year, audible from the office window on the defunct swimming pool. Not been outside to count them yet!... Turns out there are 12 ducklings this time around, 4 custard yellow cuties and 8 'regulars'.

Common Crane - 3 birds seen distantly, high and well to the N of our garden at 11.30am, flapping but mostly gliding leisurely eastwards (in the direction of Hickling Broad).


Sunday 3rd May

Greylag Goose - 4 flew south over the paddock towards Chapelfield Farm, at 8.15am

Kestrel - male sitting on our chimney at 7.15am

Tawny Owl - one calling (unseen) from its day roost in the tall laurels, 2.00pm

Swift - one over Stalham church at 7.30am this morning

House Martin - 3 over the house at 1.30pm


Saturday 2nd May

Mute Swan - one SW over the paddock at 5.00pm

Swift - first this year, one over the garden this afternoon (#72)

House Martin - mixed party of 8 or 9 House Martins and Swallows over the house at lunchtime


Thursday 30th April

The much needed rain continued overnight, giving way to a bright, sunny start to the day on a fresh and increasing SW

Grey Heron - one following the River Ant towards Stalham Staithe (07.30am)

Jackdaw - regular comings and goings to their nests in our kitchen chimney and the broken limb in the big poplar

Chiffchaff - one singing in the front garden (07.30am)


Wednesday 29th April

A mixed bag of weather, heavy cloud and light rain AM, sunny and dry PM. A fresh NE breeze

Kestrel - our resident pair of Kestrels took to the air and were very vocal this morning when a Sparrowhawk appeared over the paddock

Yellowhammer - one calling from the hedgerow alongside the paddock flew off north over the garden (08.00am)


Monday 27th April

More overcast this morning, but with sunny periods and almost no wind

Egyptian Goose - 2 flew low over the garden at 07.30am towards the River Ant

Oystercatcher - a pair piping in slow flying display, flew from the River Ant east over Stalham church, then circled back west towards Chapelfield Road at 08.15am

Chiffchaff - one singing in the front garden

Blackcap - both males giving it all they've got again this morning


Sunday 26th April

A super day - still, bright and sunny right from the word go, and producing some first rate birding - including 4 species new to our Lockdown List!

Greylag Goose - 4 flew SW over the garden at 07.15am

Mute Swan - 2 adults flew W over the River Ant towards Weyford Bridge at 06.40am (#70)

Little Grebe - one heard 'whinnying' on several occasions during the day, somewhere to the SW, possibly on the farmer's reservoir or perhaps further away on the River Ant

Bittern - our distant boomer in good voice again today, from 02.30am and continuing well into the morning

Lapwing - 1 flew low and slow SE over Chapelfield Farm at 06.15am (#68)

Cuckoo - first this year, one (possibly two) calling strongly to the south, along the River Ant, from 06.20am (#69)

Great Spotted Woodpecker - one drumming down the lane to Chapelfield Farm at 06.00am

Long-tailed Tit - pair still collecting cobwebs from the vegetable garden today

Skylark - 4 birds (presumed 2 pairs) interacting today in the wheatfield immediately south of our garden

Chiffchaff - one foraging in the front garden this morning

Blackcap - now 2 singing males present: one in the front garden, plus our 'established' pair in the back garden

Common Whitethroat - male singing from the roadside hedgerow to the south of our paddock

Lesser Whitethroat - male singing from the roadside hedgerow to the south of our paddock at 13.30

Firecrest - a super singing male gave some cracking views in the front garden from at least 10.15am this morning through to 5.00pm today... #71 for the list!


Saturday 25th April

Another dry, bright and sunny day after a dull, overcast start - but that chill easterly breeze has returned

Great Spotted Woodpecker - male feeding in the dead hedgerow elm behind the walled garden

House Martin - first this year, 3 over the farmer's reservoir at 11.15, before departing north (#67)

Long-tailed Tit - a pair collecting cobwebs from the pergola, greenhouse and fruit cage in the vegetable garden, flew off into the paddock but we've not yet located where they are nest-building


Friday 24th April

Cool, overcast and misty first thing, sun burning through by 8.00am, but a chill breeze from the north

Red-legged Partridge - not many partridges seen or heard here in recent weeks, so good to see a pair of Red-legs feeding beside the hard standing at 06.00 today

Sparrowhawk - a female plus two males up together over Stalham Staithe this lunchtime

Marsh Harrier - two adult males flew SE, one behind the other, towards Sutton Fen at around midday

Great Spotted Woodpecker - one calling from the big ash alongside the paddock

Skylark - our resident songster still going strong in the wheatfield immediately south of our garden

Lesser Whitethroat - first this year (#66), one singing from the old blackthorn hedge at midday


Thursday 23rd April

Sunny with clear blue skies, and much warmer now that the cold easterly has dropped to a light breeze

Grey Heron - one first thing, following the River Ant from Weyford Bridge to Stalham Staithe

Peregrine - one soaring with 2 Buzzards over the farmer's reservoir at 13.30, before moving off SW

Buzzard - perfect conditions for this species today, with up to 8 birds visible at any one time early afternoon. One strikingly marked pale bird feasting on a rabbit carcass in the paddock 14.15-14.30 and 'sharing' its meal with a Magpie

Barn Owl - 'top of head' visible in the nestbox again this morning. The off duty bird, presumably the male, made a superb 'fly past' the house at 20.00, returning 10 minutes later with a mouse delivered direct to the nestbox

Tawny Owl - always strange to hear one hooting during the middle of the day (14.00)

Swallow - numbers have increased, minimum of 6 together over the farm barns this lunchtime

Common Whitethroat - just as we were beginning to give up all hope of 'our' Whitethroats returning to the garden this year, a male singing from the walled garden at 10.00am this morning (#64)... but will he stay?

Yellowhammer - one heard calling south of the paddock, down Chapelfield Road. Our first this spring (#65)


Wednesday 22nd April

Sunny with clear blue skies again today, the cold east wind has eased a little but continues to blow

Marsh Harrier - a beautifully marked adult male harried by a Carrion Crow behind the tall poplar

Hobby - one to the south, over Chapelfield Farm (11.15am)

Swallow - one or two over the paddock, but we're still only seeing the odd one or two each day


Tuesday 21st April

Sunny with clear blue skies again today, but the strong and cold east wind continues to blow, suppressing bird song and activity

Grey Heron - 2 first thing, following the River Ant from Weyford Bridge to Stalham Staithe

Swallow - despite the cold blow, a male 'song-flighting' over the barns at 07.00am this morning

Starling - one of the joys of spring here is watching the 'raiding parties' of 12-30 Starlings flying back and forth between their nests in Stalham town and our back garden, where they come to probe and collect food from our lawn


Monday 20th April

The weekend's fresh and cold east wind continuing to blow, taking the edge off what would otherwise have been warm and sunny weather.

Greylag Goose - a party of 4 flew over the paddock to Stalham Staithe at breakfast time

Barn Owl - some early morning activity, with a bird (or birds) seen to leave the nest box at 05.45, returning a couple of minutes later, and then leaving the box again shortly after 06.00


Friday 17th April

Hobby - our lunchtime potter around the garden produced several Buzzards, a pair of Sparrowhawks and fabulous views of a Hobby (13.25) - our first this year and #63 for the 'Limosa lockdown list' - low over the paddock and in perfect light

Barn Owl - as yesterday, the face of one clearly visible, peeping comically from within the nest box (13.30)


Thursday 16th April

Another overnight ground frost, and calm but very foggy first thing this morning, with visibility down to just 120 yards, clearing slowly as sun burned through from 07.30am

Cormorant - 2 adults flew SE over the paddock this morning, both showing much less white on the head or thighs than the other birds noted recently

Barn Owl - through binoculars, the face of one clearly visible this morning, peeping from within the nest box (07.00)

Sand Martin - our first for the year, 3 flew E together over the paddock at 14.55 (#62)

Blackcap - male and female feeding together in the old blackthorn hedge


Wednesday 15th April

Overnight ground frost, calm, still and bright this morning - ideal conditions for hearing bird calls on the 'dawn patrol'...

Little Grebe - a surprise addition to the list (#59), one heard 'whinnying' to the SW, possibly on the farmer's reservoir or perhaps further away on the River Ant

Bittern - our distant boomer calling frequently from 5.00am this morning, the low call even audible from within our kitchen at times!

Marsh Harrier - distant male displaying over Barton Fen first thing

Oystercatcher - a pair piping noisily over the reservoir at daybreak (05.00)

Barn Owl - Confused or what?!!... We were amazed to see a Barn Owl (#61) emerge from our nestbox at 20.00 this evening and fly off across the field to settle in the top of one of the big oaks close to the junction between Chapelfield Lane and the main road. First we have seen here since they nested in the box last summer. Although the box is visible from our kitchen window, the comings and goings of 'our' Barn Owls remains mysterious as ever.

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1 (unseen) drumming down the lane to Chapelfield Farm around 06.15

Chiffchaff - 1 singing about 400yds away (from the old railway track on N side of the main road) at 06.00.

Blackcap - 'our' male giving lots of song this morning from the old blackthorn hedge, a second bird calling but not seen well enough to sex it

Fieldfare - 1 lone straggler calling loudly from the tall poplar at 06.10, before flying off noisily to the SE, a welcome if somewhat tardy addition (#60) to our 'lockdown list'

Linnet - male perched atop the large oak behind the farmer's hard standing


Easter Sunday, 12th April

Grey Heron - 2 (singles), low over the wheatfield this morning

Marsh Harrier - male low over the paddock this morning, another returning high from the N at teatime

Great Spotted Woodpecker - male feeding in the old ash tree beside the paddock (07.15)

Swallow - four or five sightings today, including a male singing and later two birds flying together

Another gloriously warm and sunny spring day, butterflies seen in the garden today again included Brimstone, Holly Blue and Orange-tip


Saturday 11th April

Greylag Goose - especially noisy this morning (somewhere), but despite this only 1 bird seen, flying E to Stalham Staithe

Mallard - the female - still with all 17 ducklings! - made it into the walled garden this morning and were sunning themselves on the lawn at 10.30. We opened the 'rabbit proof' side gate to let them out into the lane and they were gone by lunchtime

Bittern - our resident distant boomer heard three times from mid-morning through to lunchtime

Grey Heron - 1 flew W, low over the wheatfield at 07.15

Cormorant - 2 adults, presumably a pair as one bird (male) noticeably larger than the other (female), flew from N to S over the house at 10.15

Red Kite - this species is seemingly more numerous here nowadays than we'd previously thought!... 3 seen from the paddock, circling together over Stalham church before slowing drifting SE over Stalham Staithe and away (10.30)

Swallow - 1 flew N over West End Farm Barns at 06.30

Blackcap - 'our' male now seems settled and is in good voice along the old blackthorn hedge

Wheatear - hoorah, 'today's new bird'!... A super male in the recently ploughed field adjoining the paddock (14.30-15.00). He was too good to miss, so we gave our neighbours a call and they walked down the lane to see it from our field gate (#58)

Nice butterflies in the garden this warm and sunny weekend included Brimstone, Holly Blue and Orange-tip


Good Friday, 10th April

Good Friday certainly lived up to its name, producing 4 new species for our Lockdown Birdlist...

Canada Goose - heard honking noisily at dusk (20.15), somewhere south Stalham Staithe (#57)

Mallard - female with 17 ducklings (!) on the defunct swimming pool. We had to make a floating platform so they could get out and then 'walk the plank' back up onto the bank.

Cormorant - Adult in breeding plumage, white head and thigh patch clearly visible, heading high to the E over the paddock at 13.30 (#55)

Red Kite - 1 soaring with a Buzzard and ca. 10 Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls E of the paddock at 13.45

Peregrine - 1 (probably imm. female) soaring high over Chapelfield Lane, with ca. 10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls in attendance (13.25-13.30), slowly drifting away westwards (#54)

Swallow - 1st of the year, a male flying N at 13.35 (#56). Another over Sutton Staithe this evening (18.00).

Chiffchaff - 1 singing about 400yds away (from the old railway track on N side of the main road) at 13.45.


Thu 9th April

Little Egret - 1 flew low SE over the paddock on our 'breakfast walk round' at 08.30 (#53 for the list)

Buzzard - the white-fronted individual was back on the rabbit remains during our coffee break at 10.00 this morning

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1 flew to the tall poplar

Blackcap - male seems settled here now (but not a peep from 'our' Chiffchaff the past couple of days)


Wed 8th April

Egyptian Goose - a pair flew low over the paddock at 8.30 this morning, braying like donkeys (#51 for the list)

Bittern - stepped outside the back door at first light, our distant 'boomer' already in action

Sparrowhawk - 2 soaring with 3 Buzzards over Sutton Staithe at lunchtime (13.45)

Marsh Harrier - handsome male quartering low over the neighbouring field of emerging wheat

Buzzard - one 'white-fronted' individual on a rabbit kill in field next to garden at lunchtime today soon attracted the attention of 5 more Buzzards and a Red Kite!

Red Kite - 1 swooped down to snatch a titbit from the field beside the rabbit kill, then drifted away SE

Tawny Owl - the rufous male back on station at his day roost in the tall laurels

Skylark - 1 singing first thing over the recently sown wheatfield alongside our garden

Linnet - 2 twittering low overhead as they flew south this morning (#52)


Tue 7th April

Greylag Goose - 2 flying from Weyford to Stalham Staithe

Grey Heron - 1 flying in the distance over Barton Fen

Marsh Harrier - two pairs distantly (over Barton Fen and Broad), enjoying the warm spring sunshine today

Buzzard - 3 circling high over the paddock at lunchtime, with a 4th bird arriving high up from the north.

Blackcap - Our recently arrived male is starting to find his voice a bit now.

Meadow Pipit - 1 flying low to south, calling


Mon 6th April

Bittern - 1 booming from the distant marshes (about 1km away), heard early morning while weeding the vegetable patch

Grey Heron - 1 low over the neighbouring field of recently emerging wheat

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1 in the tall poplar, early morning

Blackcap - Male giving subsong in the old hedge by the shed, first record this year.


Sun 5th April

Bittern - 1 heard booming from the distant marshes (about 1km away), afternoon

Sparrowhawk - plenty of activity as the day warms up, female half-heartedly chasing after 2 Starlings but didn't catch either

Oystercatcher - always a delight to hear a pair piping from the farmer's irrigation reservoir a couple of fields away

Skylark - 1 singing over the recently sown wheatfield alongside our garden

Chiffchaff - still present, again singing only intermittently

Long-tailed Tit - pair in the old apple trees, seem to be resident in the garden so presumably nesting here... somewhere

Pied Wagtail - pair over the paddock (they usually nest in our old outbuilding)

Meadow Pipit - 1 flying over, calling


Sat 4th April

Bittern - 1 heard booming from the distant marshes (about 1km away), early morning

Marsh Harrier - at least 1 pair distantly over Barton Broad, and late afternoon a female low over the paddock here.

Kestrel - our 'resident' female is spending much of her time in and around the big poplar lately, and also likes to sit and hunt from the garden wall. Hoping they might try to nest again this year.

Stock Dove - our 'resident' pair looking superb in the bright afternoon sun, each year they have their sights set on the Barn Owl box, but the owls clearly hold the upper hand and they don't ever get a look in.

Green Woodpecker - 1 in tall poplar, 'seen off' by resident Jackdaws

Chiffchaff - still present, but singing only intermittently

Grey Wagtail - 1 calling overhead, flying towards Stalham Staithe


Fri 3rd April

Sparrowhawk - 2 pairs up over Stalham Staithe, the males displaying.

Common Buzzard - 4-6 birds up over Stalham Staithe and Barton Fen, plus 'Bert', our resident garden buzzard.

Chiffchaff - Our first summer migrant this year, 1 singing this morning (not known if this was the same bird that was wintering in the garden through Jan until early March at least).

Great Tit - 2 pairs nesting in boxes - 1 pr by the kitchen window, 1 pr by the vegetable patch

Blue Tit - at least 2 pairs nesting boxes - 1 pair in the fancy nextbox by the side gate, 1 pair in the box in the paddock that we only put back up in the sycamore earlier this week following the winter gales.

Grey Wagtail - 1 calling overhead, flying towards Stalham Staithe


Wed 1st April

Tawny Owl - Thinking that Grey Squirrels had moved in and taken over our Barn Owl nestbox, we were very surprised to fleeting see what we took to be a rather ragged looking Tawny Owl flush explosively from the nestbox this afternoon!? Meanwhile, the male Tawny is still roosting in the tall laurels by the front drive (where he has been present regularly for some months at least), a very handsome rufous bird squinting down at us through half-open eyes as though pretending he's not really looking.

Jackdaw - Can't work their complex family units out, but seems to be 1 pair nesting in a broken bough in the tall poplar, and another pair (as usual) in our kitchen chimney (where they have been every year since we bought the house in 2010).


Thu 26 Mar

Red Kite - still a relatively scarce bird in this corner of Norfolk, so good to see 1 drifting E over the paddock this afternoon (14.15), with 'Bert', our resident Buzzard, in close but casual attendance.

Common Crane - Our neighbours phoned (08.55am) to say they could hear birds calling and we nipped downstairs in time to enjoy 6 birds moderately low over the house, gliding leisurely from SW to east (in the direction of Hickling Broad).



END