Saturday, 24 March 2012


The warm days have heated up the site even enough for the first of the pool frogs to come out:

Thanks to James Harding-Morris for his input on what we generally term marsh frogs at Tophill. We have both marsh and pool at Tophill with the hybrid – the edible. If we had just edibles eventually the dominant marsh frog genes would win out and we would end up with just the ‘spotty’ marsh frogs. As it is there must be both as we see plenty of spots and stripes here. More plentiful at present though are the common toads – thanks to David Marritt for this one:

However we’re still substantially down on sand martins – we’ve since learnt that 3 were seen on Watton last Thursday – but that has been the sole passage so far. When compared to the blog last year we were regularly getting dozens of birds at this time. Our spotters in Portugal recently tell us conditions in Iberia are extremely dry with little vegetation growth or insects which is undoubtedly having an influence at the moment.

The only other migrants have been a trickle of lesser black backed gulls and plenty of chiffchaffs.

At the other end of the scale it appears as though the smew have disappeared leaving us with a bit of a void between winter and summer at present. But the short-eared owls are still filling it – one today. Some of the real stars are still the hen harriers though – thanks to Roy Vincent for this one over Hempholme Meadow mid-week:

Bitterns have also been impressive showing well in some cases – but never the same place twice! Hopefully pictures to follow in the next post.

There are still a range of geese – the two snow geese likely finding some appropriate company here!:

This little egret was giving the greylags a gasp inducing flypast on Watton (Roy Vincent):

Whereas this black-headed gull was putting them in their place (RV):

Oystercatchers are still showing promise (RV):

And there are plenty of calling reed bunting (RV):

And the treecreepers are also about (RV):

Warm days are also good for soaring buzzards:

Butterflies – comma, brimstone, small tortoiseshell all reported with peacock:

And bee-flies: for more see also Martin’s blog with the latest moths.