Wednesday 11 April 2012

Signs of Spring Migration.

Lynn and I have recently returned from a visit to Norfolk and we stayed in the delightful village of Heacham. This gave us a chance to go birding along the norfolk coast between Snettisham and Titchwell, two of our favourite reserves. Despite the occasional savage weather we did get out and about every day and we saw a good number and variety of birds. Migrants were a bit thin on the ground but behind the Heacham dunes I found up to eight Wheatears and a Ring Ousel on our last day. These birds showed well and were one of the highlights of our holiday!
A highlight of a visit to Titchwell was a group of Long-tailed ducks feeding offshore. The weather was kind enough to allow us to linger a while on the beach at low tide and get close views of many gulls and waders and on the way back to the visitors centre we had a bird of prey 'fest' with Marsh Harrier, Red Kite, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and a Merlin all in the sky at the same time. Visits to Ttitchwell coincided with extremes of weather ranging from a benign morning watching a water vole and listening to blackcaps to sitting out a violent storm in the island hide as the wind tried to blow us away!
We spent a day at Holme dunes walking the coastal path and it was a treat to see a pair of Stonechats flitting and scratching among the coarse scrub! Skiens of geese barked overhead and Avocets were as clumsy and quarrelsome as ever in the fresh water pools.
All in all we had a great time and on the way home visited Welney WWT reserve and topped up our birding list to over 100 species for the week. The star visitor having been a Sacred Ibis!
On my local patch I have noticed increasing numbers of Chiffchaff and have included here in my blog some sketches I made a couple of weeks ago. I hope you like? A further reminder of my forthcoming exhibition! 'WONDERFUL WETLANDS, An artist's perspective', It will be at RSPB RYE MEADS reserve in the visitor centre and will run from Sat 2nd to Sun 10th June to coincide with a series of events marking 'SPRINGWATCH'. Everyone is welcome to cast a critical eye over my work and also to take a stroll around this fantastic little wetland reserve. Entrance is free so please do come! Further information can be obtained by contacting Louise Moss on 01992 708383. I will post some samples of my work done specially for the exhibition in a future blog.