Leader: Chris Stone
Reporter: Sue Gale
Nine members gathered at 8.30 in the car park near Wymondham Abbey in bright
sunshine and blue skies. What an improvement on last month! There was a Buzzard overhead and Liz found a Grey Wagtail by the river before we even set out. Chris led us across the road towards the cemetery first. This is a well-known birding spot and we were hoping to see Spotted Flycatchers. On the way a Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard calling, and then seen in a nearby tree. A Sparrowhawk flew over as we passed through a small housing estate. Inside the large cemetery Chris explained that two pairs of Spotted Flycatchers had been seen this year, and it wasn’t long before he pointed one out to us, perched on a gravestone. Over the next 15 minutes we watched at least two of them flying about us and catching flies. They are perky and characterful little birds, and it seems that gravestones make ideal perches. We also spotted a Goldcrest and a Treecreeper here.
We returned to the car park to take a walk along the riverside path in the opposite
direction towards Kimberley. It was a beautiful walk by the clear waters of the Tiffey, through meadows and with lovely views of the slightly rolling countryside. We spent some time locating and identifying Reed Buntings and Whitethroats – very helpful for the less experienced among us. Chris was disappointed not to be able to show us the Kingfisher that he usually sees along this stretch, but he was able to point out a nest hole in the bank. I’m sure some of us will be back to this lovely walk and have another chance of seeing this beautiful bird. A little further along the rattling song of a Lesser Whitethroat was persistent, but it remained out of sight. Several Large Red Damselflies and later a single Banded Demoiselle were seen and admired. A Little Egret lifted off from a nearby ditch and flew around us for a while. Much later, after a refreshment stop near the Kimberley Estate a Grey Heron also flew over. By the time we returned to the cars many of us were distinctly overheated – a rare occurrence up to that point in the year! There were no complaints about the weather though. We covered about 6.5 miles in total, in lovely countryside and in good company. A really lovely morning, with many thanks and plaudits to Chris for his excellent guiding, and to David for keeping the bird list.