Sightings at Pensthorpe – 28th May 2024

Wetland Hide Birdwatching sightings board

Wensum Valley Birdwatching Society visited Pensthorpe on 28th May 2024. Here’s their report.


Pensthorpe 28th May 2024

Pensthorpe Monitoring Tuesday 28th May 2024

A later start than usual, but the list still quickly accumulated around the car park area, with 2 Marsh Harriers quartering the fields beside the driveway, a Mistle Thrush feeding there, and 3 Shelducks on the barn roof where the Stock Doves usually are. All 3 hirundines flying around under the heavy clouds, a Cuckoo singing, and a Bullfinch calling at the back of the small picnic area opposite the toilet block, all helped to push the tally to 42 species before entering the reserve proper.

Once in the reserve the rain started, and it remained mostly raining, sometimes heavy, throughout the rest of the visit, so a lot of the following hours were spent watching from the hides. The best sighting from the Wetland hide was of a female Gadwall with 5 young – not many Gadwall breed in our area. The rain brought the aerial feeding birds down, with best counts of 23 Swifts and 10 House Martins.

There was not much of a muddy edge at Wetland with the water high, and little of note on the water there or on Old Squaw Lake, but 3 Common Tern nests on one of the Old Squaw islands, and 3 Black-headed Gull broods hatched, were nice to see. Another lovely brood at the Woodland hide, where a very empty arena in front of the hide was suddenly alive with a female Mandarin running in from the back, followed by 7 newly-hatched young of her own, along with an adopted Shelduck chick!  It was a delight to watch them for 5 minutes until they all exited stage right back into the wood.

Then more Mandarin joy at the start of the Wildflower Meadow, when at the bottom of the short boardwalk I was confronted with a group of 17 drakes on the near edge of Makin’s Mere! Goodness knows where they have come from all of a sudden.

But from joy to despair on arrival at the Wader Scrape, to see that the very high water level had left just one floating Black-headed Gull nest remaining from the thriving colony of 94 nests counted less than 3 weeks ago. A pair of Linnets, a singing Reed Bunting and a dashing Sparrowhawk at the same spot ended the day, and upped the final total to a pleasing 65 species.


Steve Connor.


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