April 16th continued......
New additions to the garden......
The first Sparrowhawk from the garden at Martham (18th) was spotted thanks to one of the Blue Tits nesting in the nestbox (fairly recently installed in late February) raising the alarm. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls were seen circling and calling, making this the second sighting of this gull from the property.
New additions to the ‘In Garden’ list were Carder Bumblebee (first of 2018), Small Tortoiseshell (3), Brimstone (male), Dark-edged Bee-fly Bombylius major and a female Jumping Spider Salticus scenicus on the window frame.
Salticus scenicus Dark-edged Bee-fly 'Small' Hoverfly sp. as yet unidentified
A case of 'Dead and Alive' ........
The first animal of note, during Jason Nichols and my Thursday trip along the North Norfolk coast (19th) was unfortunately a road casualty Badger, just before Bodham on the A148, but two newly arrived Swallows were very much alive at Kelling.
A Sandwich Tern seen at Salthouse and a Wheatear and a Green-veined White at Blakeney Freshmarsh were all new for the year, but unfortunately there was no sign of the reported Ring Ouzel.
It was back to the deceased along the A149 at Stiffkey, where a casualty of the road was a Stoat, but at Holkham Freshmarsh Lesser Whitethroat (new for 2018), 4 Spoonbills in the bushes, a very pale Common Buzzard and a Brown Hare were seen.
Further along the A149 at Burnham Norton a male Hen Harrier flew over the road, but could not be found again after stopping to look for it. Nevertheless, more ‘birds of prey were seen; a Red Kite and a male Marsh Harrier gathering nest material.
Brancaster Staithe was unusually quiet, except for the human contingent and of note here were 4 Mediterranean Gulls flying over, a single Dark-bellied Brent Goose and two Avocets flying up the channel, now seen during the last three visits here despite never being seen here prior to that!
Parking up near the ‘Iron Road’ at Salthouse, in order to look at Watling Water for a reported Black-necked Grebe, Jason spotted a Great White Egret hunting along the reed fringe to the east of the car parking area.
At the Babcock hide the Black-necked Grebe in summer attire was still present, but like the Long-tailed Duck seen here, kept to the area near the islands, where presumably the deepest part of the man-made scrape/pool was. A splendid sight nevertheless.
Also here were 3 Ruff and several Black-tailed Godwits and another (or the same!?) two Mediterranean Gulls flying over.
On exiting the hide my attention was drawn to an area of ‘wash’ probably due to a roosting bird but on the concrete was a dead Short-tailed Vole, but the vole was moving!
The reason for this movement after death was a burying beetle, although burying it there was not going to happen unless it was moved off the concrete. The burying beetle in typical burying beetle behaviour was moving around the carcase, but when it was visible it was a black species of beetle (except for orange antennas) and not the usual black and orange species associated with carrion internment as a cache of food for the young on hatching.
A spot of research later, found this to be a Black Sexton Beetle Nicrophorus humator not uncommon apparently, but the first I have seen.