Friday 12 May 2023

Eaton Park, Norwich, 11 May 2023

Guest blog by Helen Mitchell, Friends of Eaton Park

This May’s bird walk with Chris Durdin was at the end of a long grey day of intermittent, heavy showers. Happily these had passed by the time we met in the rose garden and our early evening walk was bathed in golden early evening sun light.

Eighteen of us enjoyed a walk around Eaton Park, starting in the rose garden with distant blackbird song, setting off down the tree-lined avenue to North Park Meadow before skirting the pitch and putt to dive into Bluebell Wood, and ending looking across to adjacent council houses to watch the lively house sparrows nesting under the roof tiles and rocketing across to the thick park hedge for food or shelter.

It’s a time of year when migrants have returned, and we heard a chiffchaff across the pitch and putt and three blackcaps. In the sky above three early swifts flew over us to everyone’s excitement.

Group members in Bluebell Wood.
Most birds have already found their mates. We spotted a woodpigeon perched quietly on a precarious nest high in one of the avenue trees, and a blue tit flying in and out of a bird box that had been placed by Friends of Eaton Park on one of the redwood trees.

Chris explained that this time of year it’s mostly about the territory and blackbirds, robins, wrens, dunnocks and woodpigeons were all singing to claim theirs. Elsewhere starlings, crows, goldfinches and blue tits were busy foraging in the hedges, grass and trees. Jackdaws were about too – good numbers of them roost in the park.

Pignut and bluebells.

Along the way we also took in wildflowers. North Park Meadow highlights were the delicate white islands of meadow saxifrage and the pink and pale blue carpets of dovesfoot cranesbill. In Bluebell Wood we admired the true English bluebells, red campion and delicate white flowers of greater stitchwort beside them.

Greater stitchwort.

Two orange tip butterflies jinked past us along the way and right at the end we found a single egg from one of them, orange like the wing tips themselves, on the garlic mustard or jack-by-the-hedge that skirts the hedges of the park. 

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