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April 18th

With the wind yesterday finally moving away from the north I was expecting to see some bits and bobs this morning. I'd had a quick look towards the cliffs quite late last evening, two summer plumage Golden Plovers flying around the field by Upton Way being all that was of note. As it turned out, my expectations for the day were to some extent met. Ossie and I had hardly stepped out of the gate this morning when a Swallow slipped into view over the meadow opposite where it hawked flies in the company of a Sand Martin. A little further and a Blackcap gave a short burst of song from the thicket near College Farm, this and the Swallow being my first in Happisburgh this year, although I've recorded both species elsewhere for about two weeks now. Another Blackcap was singing behind Laurel Lodge where a Willow Warbler was avidly feeding and attempting to sing amongst the fresh green buds of a Sycamore. He appeared more concerned with food than advertising for a mate, so my guess is that he hadn't long arrived; he certainly wasn't present yesterday morning. Once home, I was in the garden when I heard another familiar song not heard since last summer. I walked around to the front of the house and there was the performer, a male Common Whitethroat, fresh in from his winter break somewhere probably south of the Sahara, back at home in Happisburgh. I spent most of the rest of the day at home and around the garden and on a couple of occasions when looking up, I twice caught sight of single Sparrowhawks and a female Marsh Harrier which was passing high and to the north-west.

With reference to the large flock of Common Buzzards on
Friday, I had an e-mail yesterday from a friend informing me of two more large groups seen in east Norfolk on Saturday morning; nine over Winterton and 14 over Great Yarmouth. Were the latter the same group as mine, reorienting south for an easier Channel crossing perhaps? Another e-mail brought these two lovely photos of a Barn Owl taken at Lessingham recently. Many thanks Bob.

Barn Owl, Lessingham - © Bob Cobbold

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