Sightings at Pensthorpe – 19th May 2024

Wensum Valley Birdwatching Society visited Pensthorpe on 19th May 2024. Here’s their report.


Pensthorpe Report 19th May


It was a bright start to the day with the promise of a warm day to come. There was nothing unexpected in the car park or on the drive but a pair of Pied Wagtail was good to see and we could hear a Goldcrest although we couldn’t find it despite several minutes searching!


On the way to the Farmland Hide we saw 2 Buzzard and a Marsh Harrier but the hide itself was very quiet. Cath spotted a Meadow Pipit but other than that there was a noticeable lack of small birds.


The woods were alive with song, however, with Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Robin and particularly Wren singing everywhere. The water level had dropped at the Wetland Hide and we spotted a Lapwing that appeared to be sitting on a nest, although there were no eggs visible when it moved. It was lovely to see some Sand Martins flying low over the reeds and just as we were about to leave, a Little Grebe put in a brief appearance. There was also a Great Crested Grebe on a nest, very well hidden in the reeds.


As we walked back towards the Millenium Garden we heard the only Dunnock of the day and also spotted a male & female (or possibly young) Blackcap. Old Squaw Lake had nesting Common Tern and Black Headed Gulls and another well-hidden Great Crested Grebe nest.


Walking towards the woodland we spotted the only Red Kite of the day, and a few Swift overhead. We were chatting about the fact we had not heard a Cuckoo and almost immediately heard one. If only all birds could be conjured up in this way!


The hide itself was very quiet with a solitary Chaffinch the only bird on the feeders. But the male Mandarin was underneath and we also saw a Stoat which was a real bonus.


There were two Mistle Thrush on the path in the woods and towards the Wildflower Meadow we spotted a Treecreeper, which is always a pleasure.


The only Willow Warbler of the day was by the gate towards the Scrape. Water levels had dropped here as well, and it was lovely to see a few Avocet and 2 Little Ringed Plover. There was also a Pochard on the other side of the water. Sedge & Reed Warblers were generally very scarce but we did see both in the reeds in front of the Hide.


Heading back towards the Visitor Centre we had a brief but very close view of a Hobby, as well as hearing Garden Warbler. Moon Water had the usual selection of gulls and there were several House Martins swooping over the Mill Pond and above the café. There were a handful of House sparrows and also Mallards who were very determined to share our scones!


Cath Robinson, Ray Gribble & Mandy Etherington


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