Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Wild Hen Weekend

I am so lucky to have such wonderful friends who know me so well. My bridesmaids organised my hen weekend; everything was a complete surprise. Not only did they take us to make silver charms, for dinner, dancing and afternoon tea, they also arranged for us to go and see the seals at Blakeney point. I've only been once before, and in the depths of winter, so it was lovely to revisit in spring to see both the grey and the common seals. There were also lots of seabirds; black headed, herring, greater black backed gulls and common, sandwich and little turns to be seen.

So, they were my surprise delights over the weekend. On the Monday, I had agreed to help a friend complete a bird survey of a local organic farm. A 4:00 a.m. start straight after my hen weekend was a bit of a struggle, but it was well worth it. We saw a total of 46 species in all, and at least four out of the ten farmland specialists we were after; including yellowhammers, skylarks, linnets and white throats. I was also quite pleased with the number of different bird songs I appear to have learnt over the past year or so. Usually I only hear birds separately, but with so many singing together it was a privilege to be able to pick a few out. With the "bread, bread, bread, bread, cheeeeeeeese" of the yellowhammer, the sparkling song of flying linnets and the delights of the endless cascading song of the skylark in display flight, it really was magical.

Yellowhammer posing, just before treating us to its song

At that time of the morning, we were also treated to wonderful views of roe and muntjac deer and enormous amounts of hares; we saw nearly 20 in just one field! I love hares, and I could happily sit and watch them all day. A couple even decided to have a brief box, behaviour which I have never before witnessed for myself. We also saw some beautiful butterflies, including the silver-studded blue and the speckled wood below. Helpfully, it was still too early for the butterflies to have fully warmed up, so they were very obliging it letting us get close-up photos.

A roe deer, sussing us out from a distance
Muntjac deer

Speckled wood
Silver-studded blue

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