Newts & Spring Migrants......
A look for Palmate Newts with Jason Nichols began the day (28th). The site is in east Norfolk, but other than that the exact location I am reluctant to reveal. Whilst there is the theory that by more people knowing about it the animals are more protected (as implicated when Ospreys first nested in Abernethy Forest), but in this case we are talking about an animal that can’t fly away, it is at the mercy of pond-dipping enthusiasts including those who may see nothing wrong in taking them out of their chosen habitat, permanently!
This is a species of newt, which tends to breed in temporary ponds even puddles. It is smaller than both our other two species: Great Crested and Common/Smooth Newt and has several differences, e.g. the males having a filament at the end of the ‘crested’ tail and both sexes having an un-spotted throat.
The visit here was mainly to see if the newts were still here and on that basis just two dips with the net were made, the first collecting a male and the second finding both a male and a female. They were out of the water for only a few minutes when a few photos were taken before the newts made their way back to the water.
A Common Buzzard perched on a hedge was seen en route, before arriving at Salthouse.
Along Beach Road, Salthouse a Little Ringed Plover was spotted by Jason, on a flash, just to the west of the road, and at the pond further on at Walsey hills a drake Pochard and a Little Grebe, now in breeding plumage were of note.
At least 4 Oystercatchers were on the Eye Field along Beach Road, Cley and two male Wheatears were also found at the northern end of the field but were very difficult to spot, after they had initially been found. Further along the road a visit to Morston found at least 100 Brent Geese still present.
Two Red Kites were seen, just before Stiffkey village and a Blackcap was heard singing in the hedgerow here.
A Muntjac was seen at Burnham Overy and a stop at Brancaster Staithe saw 2 Avocets, several Black-tailed Godwits, Oystercatchers, Curlew and Turnstone and more Brent Geese.
A drive ‘around the block’ at Choosley, once again found Brown Hares on the fields and a Chinese Water Deer along a hedgerow. A Red Kite, Common Buzzard and Red-legged Partridges were also seen.
Heading homewards, back along the coast, we stopped at ‘the gate’ at Holkham to find at least 7 Spoonbill in the trees in the distance, but the reasons for the cutting down of hedgerows and many trees here remains a mystery!
Palmate Newt Little Ringed Plover
Brent Goose Shelduck
Chinese Water Deer