Big Sit

A small influx of Wheatear – up to eight recorded – around the NENBC Big Sit site at Felbrigg on Sunday

I’m still recovering from Sunday’s NENBC Big Sit. We postponed the event from Saturday because of the dreadful weather and, as a result, benefited from near wall to wall sunshine – except for a couple of hours of rain early afternoon. I was awake at 4.00 am to be on site just after five. We set up our observation point, as usual, at The Warren, overlooking the lake, and remained there until 8.00 in the evening – 15 hours solid static birding. Despite the promising conditions, our day total was well below previous years, at just 65 species seen from the circle – reflecting the generally poor birding Spring we have had so far. Still the day did have it’s high-lights with Ring Ouzel, Whinchat, Wheatear, six species of raptor, Little Egret, Fieldfare, Grey Wagtail and Water Rail. It also had it’s low points – no Robin, Dunnock, Long-tailed Tit or Grey Heron being recorded! We also had a couple of near-misses, with Redpoll and Mistle Thrush seen near to the site but not actually from the circle – so they didn’t count! The most surprising sightings were of a handsome Fulvous Whistling Duck, which did a circuit of the lake first thing before departing to the south – a ‘first record for Felbrigg’ we think. In the afternoon we were treated to prolonged views of a large bat species hawking over the lake – probably Daubenton’s – with a lovely chestnut body and wingspan which equals House Martin. A day at Cley NWT on Monday produced a nice male Garganey – my first there in a few years – and another early start for Turtle Dove survey yesterday (none recorded!) brings me up to date.

Non-birding highlight of the Big Sit was of a day-flying Daubenton’s Bat over the lake
Migrating Hobby – we had up to seven during the day
One of two Whinchat during the day

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