PENSTHORPE May 11th 2013

Red Squirrel


Turtle Dove

Common Crane


Cukoo flower

Five intrepid members met on a dull windy and not very warm day for a field trip at Pensthorpe. We looked quickly at the captive water birds, noting the greatly increased numbers of smew and went straight to the scrape. We had the hide to ourselves and saw our first swift of the year. Avocet and lapwing were nesting and the shelduck had a brood of seven ducklings. Two sandpipers were there! – green and wood. A muntjac in the distance was smaller than the feral greylags feeding on the pasture.

We moved on to the flower meadows – few flowers although there will soon be many spotted orchids. The weather meant no butterflies but several cuckoos were calling and the bluebells were a grand sight. The woodland hide produced a nuthatch but no willow or marsh tits.

Then came a welcome hot drink and lunch in the centre café. The afternoon was spent seeing the aviary and collection of storks and cranes. Breeding endangered species is very important at Pensthorpe. It was great to see nesting turtle dove, displaying ruff and many bearded tits. The red squirrels and corncrakes appeared for us. Two species of crane managed to swap incubating parents while we watched and saw how carefully the eggs were turned and covered again.

A total of 42 species of native wild birds was seen – we had an enjoyable and interesting day.


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