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February 6th

I hadn't visited the paddocks at the top of lane recently so headed that way with Ossie this morning. I'd just passed College Farm, reaching the point where you can see across the field on the right, when I must have spooked a couple of Woodpigeons and a covey of Partridges that had been close to the hedgerow at a range of about 100 yards. They flew but soon landed on the grassy swathe that runs across the edge of the field, quickly trying to conceal themselves from danger, and I was somewhat taken aback to see they were Grey Partridges, ten of them. Since moving to Happisburgh I have seen the species on only very few occasions, and no more than two birds at any time, although I did count five together just into East Ruston in 2009. The weather this morning had become rather variably foggy and not wanting to get too close and disturb them further I watched through a small gap in the hedge. They soon regained their confidence and ventured out a little further into the field where I could see them better and judging from the brighter plumage of two of the birds I considered there to be two males and eight females. Of this I can't be 100% certain, and I hope to see them again in better light to confirm this. If my sexing of the birds was correct, and female Grey Partridges apparently hatch on average 15 chicks per clutch, a quick calculation will show that should they all find mates, the potential is there for 120 young birds to help boost the numbers of this much declined bird during 2010.

At Walcott mid-afternoon, the adult Mediterranean Gull was again on the beach with a flock of Black-headed Gulls but little else was to be seen in the cold grey murk.

This Snowdrop appeared in bloom in the garden a few days ago.

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