With Laura settling into her new job I found myself with a day off while she was at work. So on Tuesday I met up with James to have a look around Thorpe Station Marshes. In short the marshes were deserted except for a growing flock of c65 Lapwing and the small resident Stock Dove flock. We stopped at the Town House for a carvery lunch and dispite the drizzle we decided to sit in the garden. The next hour was the most fruitful of the day, as the drizzle soon eased i picked up 2 'pub ticks' in Whitethroat and Garden Warbler, while James also added Kingfisher to his publist. Other beer related birds included, Coal Tit, Blackcap, a family of recently fledged Goldcrest and a Bullfinch we could hear but not sadly see. Walking back through Carey's Meadow we only added a juv. Chiffchaff to the days list and saw more Blackcap.
It's been a month since my last post, put simply i haven't been out, and on the odd occasion i have I've been looking at orchids, butterflies and dragonflies. With Laura starting a new job next week and me having this week off work i booked a few days away in Derbyshire, as well be working slightly different shifts patterns from now on. Driving up to Chesterfield on Monday, we made Rutland Water our midway stop off. This gave me a chance to pick up a life tick with a stonking adult Spotted Sandpiper, we also watched c15 Common Sandpiper and and maybe 1o Green Sandpiper from the Lyndon Reserve. It as always nice to see the Osprey with 3 fledglings starting to fly. A family of Kestrel were still just small enough to huddle in their nest box to avoid a shower but the Tree Sparrow were notable by their absence. The Western Bonelli's Warbler still remained on territory, so with unsettled weather forecast for the next few days we headed out first thing on Tuesday. Shortly after arriving at the site i heard a call i would not have recognised until a few nights before when i had been researching. That said i could not see the bird in question, a Willow Warbler then a Chiffchaff briefly exciting me before the heavens opened. After the shower passed the Bonelli's called again this time much closer. I got brief flight views twice as it flitted across the path and finally a clear in brief view perched. A second heavy shower seemed then to lay the bird low. After 30minutes of waiting we decided to leave but not after watching fledgling families of Meadow Pipit, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Song Thrush, not to mention Swallow and House Martin skimming the meadows. As we walked back to the car the Bonelli's Warbler again called, but i contented myself with close views of a male Bullfinch, before changing out of my wet clothes in the car. Wednesday and Thursday the weather remained overcast but still pleasant enough. We didn't really go looking for any other birds, but the large numbers of Swallow nesting in the ruins of Old Hardwick Hall kept us amused as we visited the NT property and we also had an Osprey fly over the car as we drove home some where in Lincolnshire. Two life ticks rounded off a nice short break.
I recently moved back to North Walsham and needing a new local patch, I soon settled on a few of my old favourite sites, but they were spread around town. All are close to the old railways track beds and my new house sits at the apex of all 5 lines that once radiated out from North Walsham, these form the arteries joining everything up. My 'Birding Alone Old Lines' patch was born, revisiting the old birding sites of youth, via the Old Railway Newtworks.