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April 20th

With a bit of time between finishing work and picking up from school, I decided to visit East Ruston to see if anything of interest was on the fen and surrounds there. Buzzards again featured during my drive home when two slowly flew across the road as I passed between Dilham and Honing before they thermalled skywards together. Despite a chill breeze, it was a beautiful afternoon and at the fen I opened the car door to the songs of Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and Willow Warblers. A few Swallows were swooping over the body of water to the north of the road, adjacent to the common known as the Allotment. With them were two Sand Martins and all occasionally flew off to hawk a while over the wooded backdrop. From where I stood I heard a Cetti's Warbler blast out its short, loud song and soon after it was answered from across the water by another rival bird. The reedier fen to the south of the road contained two singing Reed Warblers, unseen in the Phragmites, and I was a little surprised that I was hearing these this year before the more hurried song of Sedge Warbler, which normally arrive slightly earlier than their unstreaked cousins. Birds of prey were enjoying the sunny skies here too and 4 Kestrels circled up as did another distant Buzzard. All too soon I had to leave, and from the school pickup the route home took us through Ingham, where a flock of 22 Stock Doves were noted feeding together on a newly drilled field.

Lack of time meant that I couldn't take Ossie over to the cliffs as I'd hoped, so instead we opted for a walk up the lane and around the paddocks. This turned out to be the right move, for along a hedge that runs along the edge of the meadows at Lower Farm, a flash of rufous as a bird flitted up alerted me to a Redstart, rather distant but still close enough to see his black face and bright white brow. Hopefully he'll be there again, but closer, tomorrow.

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