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Showing posts from May, 2021

Buxton Heath guided walk, 27 May 2021

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A dry day, which was a relief after this cold and wet day, even if the sun didn’t come out, and the five of us were rewarded immediately by a singing willow warbler in the trees by the car park. Moving up the hill along Buxton Heath’s western edge, we were soon enjoying the sights and sounds of yellowhammer and stonechats.  Stonechat, male. We looked at currant galls and  oak apples on oak trees. There wasn’t much in the way of flowers apart from gorse, though we did note four-petalled tormentil and some thyme-leaved speedwell. Farther on there was a fine lousewort in flower by the side of the path, and the first bloom of bell heather. Lousewort. By now a cuckoo was calling and we saw it fly past on about three occasions. We completed a loop through the wood at the north-west corner of the heath, encountering the site’s managers, namely Dartmoor ponies and British white cattle as we returned to the heath. We had good view of two buzzards, nowadays quite a routine sighting. The penny

Ranworth revisited, 10 May 2021

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Fine weather and quite a lot of sunshine: big positives to start with compared with the previous group visit on 30 April that was cut short by a fierce hailstorm. We followed the same route, the quiet road alongside the Bure Marshes National Nature Reserve, this time with puddles showing the volume of the rain that, happily, had fallen during the night. We took a careful look at a pair of pied wagtails on a pasture on the high land to our right, taking in the blacker back and bigger bib on the male, realising how often we see them as little more than a silhouette on a roof. View over Bure Marshes NNR. Over the low-lying marshes, four lapwings were displaying, calling, twisting, turning and diving in flight. They then injected additional pace and urgency as they dive-bombed a crow on the ground, then went up to mob a marsh harrier. This was one of two male marsh harriers in the sky and a scan revealed at least two more harriers over the far reedbed, plus lots of swifts. Inevitably

Kelling Heath and water meadows: guided walk, 5 May 2021

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No sooner had we set off from the Holgate Hill car park, an impressive minotaur beetle had cameras clicking as it clambered on one group member’s sleeve. A favourite food for stone-curlews in the Brecks, said our guide Rob Lucking. Minotaur beetle Typhaeus typhoeus , a type of dung beetle. Shortly after crossing the railway – later we enjoyed seeing one of North Norfolk Railway’s steam trains – we were lucky to have extended views of a Dartford warbler, in and around low clumps of gorse. The Dartford warbler continued to show well, if briefly, having crossed to the other side of the path. With it were not the expected stonechats but instead linnets, which seemed to be plentiful here and later by the coast. We did a circuit of this part of the heath, telling stories of nightjars watched here while staying on the adjacent camping and caravan park. The route includes a fine view down to Weybourne church: what looked like crenellations on the church are part of the remains of a 13th ce