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February 27th

I briefly stopped at Whitlingham CP this morning but none of the recent 'good' birds remained it seemed. Even the redhead Smew that was there on Thursday had disappeared. So I decided to head home and check out the sea from the RNLI in the village. Twenty minutes here added two new species to my Happisburgh year list with two single, calling, Rock Pipits flying north and 11 Eider, including 6 adult drakes, heading south. Rock Pipits do occur within the parish as a wintering visitor but todays birds somewhat had the feel of birds passing through, perhaps an early sign of Spring passerine migration. On the sea were a party of six Common Scoter, one of which was a jet black adult male, the small orange patch on his bill visible through the telescope. Two dark-bellied Brents which flew in from the horizon circled the Scoter a couple of times then landed on the water next to them.

I walked Ossie along the lane early afternoon and the occasional sunshine, coupled with a milder feel to the air than of late, had inspired both Greenfinch and a Skylark to songflight. A couple of skeins of Pink-feet also overflew the village mid-afternoon, circa 50 heading north-west and 10 flying south. Would these be my last of the first winter period? Last year I didn't record any after February 28th, when a flock could be heard calling as they flew over after dark. A slightly unexpected bonus towards the end of the day came in the form of a Tree Sparrow overflying our garden, giving the distinctive 'tlip, tlip' call which drew my attention as it passed. Was this another sign of early Spring migration?

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