The Messenger - Serving Gislingham, Mellis and the Thornhams

Nature Notes - April

Date: 29 April 2019

Towards the end of April Jenny and I spent a week at the North Norfolk coast, officially an area of outstanding natural beauty, a haven for all kinds of wildlife and well known to many readers of the Messenger. We popped in to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s visitor centre at Cley Marshes and, first things first, I’m pleased to report that the bacon sandwiches are as good as ever! Tearing ourselves away from the Centre’s café, books and all kinds of wildlife related paraphernalia, we explored some of the trails through the marshes where we spotted many of the area’s iconic birds including Marsh Harrier, Avocet and, most thrilling of all, Bearded Tits. The Tits caused a great deal of hushed excitement in one of the hides as they appeared in the gently swaying reeds close to one of the windows. The hide was quite busy at the time and to everyone’s credit, people processed around so that everyone could get a good view of these handsome little birds. When my turn came around I was able to get some pleasing photos, especially of a male bird that sports the unmistakable “moustache”.  On another day, we visited Blakeney and had a most pleasant stroll around the salt marshes where the area’s landscape and famed “big skies” really made an impression. 

Spring is all around us now and the number of butterfly species to be seen is on the increase. My tally now stands at five, with Large and Small Whites and Peacock being recently added. The species that I’ve seen the most of has been the Brimstone, with their unmistakable large size and bright lime green colour. Other kinds that can be expected to be seen now are Green Veined White, Holly Blue, Orange Tip and Comma – ones to watch out for.
Another sign of Spring is the appearance of fledglings in our gardens and Marion & Glyn in Gislingham saw their first, a Starling, on 3rd April, as well as an adult Yellowhammer. Just along the road, Graham & Bar have Blue Tits in one of their nest boxes again and this is providing much entertainment as Graham has installed a camera in the nest box to enable their behaviour to be watched on his TV.
Meanwhile, Tony Clarke’s detailed list of birds seen in Gislingham: 1st 2x Yellowhammer , 2x Meadow Pipits , 70+ Fieldfare - Fields behind school - Mill st - Burgate rd - Mellis rd . Residents in song included Greenfinch , Skylark ,Chaffinch , Wren and Song Thrush . 5th 30x Fieldfare , 10x Pied Wagtail , 5x Linnet at the waterworks , Thornham rd . 15x Fieldfare , 20x Starling , 2x Linnet - horse paddock , Burgate rd . 5x Buzzard over copse north of Thornham rd and east of water works . 18th 50+ Fieldfare , Buzzard , Meadow Pipit and Yellowhammer -Fields adjacent to High st , Gislingham rd and Coldham lane . Residents in song included Greenfinch , Chaffinch , Skylark , Goldfinch , Blackbird , Robin , Wren and Song Thrush . 26th first Chiff Chaff of the spring , *Marsh Tit * ( retirement list no 60 and the first I've had in the village ) , Buzzard , Green Woodpecker . Residents in song as above . - Footpath over railway line from fields off of Coldham lane . 27th 7x Fieldfare , 2x Yellowhammer , 10x Linnet , 2x Chiff Chaff , Green Woodpecker . Residents in song as above . - Burgate rd , bridle way , Mellis rd . 29th 2x Grey Partridge , Chiff Chaff , Buzzard , Kestral . Residents in song as above . - Footpath over railway line as above plus fields adjacent to High st . A transitional month with the larger winter flocks of Gulls , Plovers and Thrushes dispersing . Fieldfares are still hanging on plus summer migrant Chiff Chaffs are coming in .