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March 16th

Today was simply glorious. The temperature reached double figures, a T-shirt was enough whilst working in the garden and a Peacock butterfly was on the wing in the village. I'd not been out to the Coast Watch side of the village for what felt like months so, bundling Ossie into the car, I headed over that way. I love this piece of Happisburgh and it always has a 'birdy' feel to it. Most of the fields out here remain as bare ploughland and I contemplated what may be grown this year; potatoes would be good perhaps for nesting Yellow Wagtails, sugar beet for Ringed Plover or even Oystercatcher and peas are always worth a scan later in the Spring for migrant Dotterel. Today though, an early Martin or the first Wheatear was far more likely. As it happened, I didn't see any proper Summer visitors but my walk was still most rewarding. Peering over the cliff, a Meadow Pipit flitted from the grassy face onto a bare ridge. Two other small birds joined it; another Meadow and a drab grey, more heavily under-streaked Rock Pipit, not yet showing any trace of a pink flush to it's breast, a feature of the Scandinavian race 'littoralis' often passing through coastal Norfolk at this time of year. It may even be that this race is the most regular wintering form of Rock Pipit in east Norfolk.

A few Corvids over on a westerly bearing were Rooks, and shortly after another passed through with a Jackdaw for company. I felt there ought to be a raptor or two on the move in such weather conditions and a searching scan back towards Walcott soon turned up a high passing Sparrowhawk following the coast south. Scanning back another, larger, bird had me thinking 'raptor' as it approached on motionless wings. Very quickly I was thinking Peregrine and, sure enough, that's what it was. It remained high as it got closer but then turned and headed inland, perhaps to cause havoc with the wildfowl at East Ruston.

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