Despite Monday being forecast as possibly one of the hottest days of the year, i had already decided to go out birding, but where? There's never much new to find at this time of year, apart from maybe an early returning wader, but the coast would be full of beach goers and offer little shade. I decided i would walk my regular spring route from Rockland to Norwich. I caught the 9am bus to Rockland and started my walk from the New Inn. There were lots of hindrines in the air over the meadows and broad including at least 2 Sand Martin but i'm not sure where they would nest locally and 2 Grasshopper Warbler were reeling from the tussocky grass in the meadow. Halfway to the hide i was sure i heard a short burst of Nightingale song, but despite waiting about and looking again on the walk back it only called once. A Whitethoat perched up allowing a couple of quick photos, and i also got good views of young Willow Warbler being fed. From the hide i saw two Kingfisher busily flying back and forth no doubt feeding young somewhere nearby. The only other thing of note the 50+ Mallard more than I've ever seen here at any time of the year. Walking back i located one of the the Grasshopper Warbler before taking the footpath towards Surlingham.
As the day was nice i had a quick wander through part of the Wheatfen Reserve, no birds of note, but a Swallowtail was one of the many species of butterfly, damselfly and dragonfly i saw during the day. Nearby i watched a female Kestrel with two fledglings learning to hunt, they hadn't quite perfected the hover! Walking through the village a Sparrowhawk circled overhead before i took the Wherryman's Way down towards the Coldham Hall a diversion i wouldn't normally take but i fancied investigating the pub. (As it happens i was to early, it was closed.) Approaching the Ferry House Pub by the river i could hear a Cuckoo nearby and soon found it not far from the gate to Surlingham Church Marsh, looking for the Cuckoo i forgot about my lunchtime pint! The pool on Church Marsh has held Green Sandpiper of late but i had to make do with a young fox playing along the back edge. Looking out over Postwick Marshes i did pick up a Barn Owl and two Buzzard circling high.
From here to Bramerton i saw little and the new look pub looked a little to posh for a birdwatching lunch so i headed on towards Whitlingham. The track to the Sewage Farm held a nice little surprise, a Little Owl digging about under an oak tree for beetles, there was also young Goldcrest and Coal Tit in the pines. The Sewage works held its normal pair of Oystercatcher and a Song Thrush was singing from the top of the Barn by the flyover. Dispite walking through the woods and around the back of the Great Broad, 2 Common Tern and a few Tufted Duck were the only extra birds i added before walking back to the Flint Barn for a much needed sandwich. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was on the dead tree by the new archery range and a Green Woodpecker was on the large dead tree opposite the Canoe Club. Walking back via the city to pick up some new shoes, i finally got home at 3.30, with rather achy feet. Including but detours it turns out my short summer stroll was just over 17 miles long, at least for most of the day it was cloudy so i wasn't burnt to a crisp.
Acle Women's Institute
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