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  Indeed in 2011 they were not in evidence until the latter date. According to the BTO the most northerly of the satellite- monitored Norfolk Cuckoos was recorded on Friday evening as being hunkered down somewhere just south of Paris and east of Orleans near the village of Chatillon-Coligny.  No surprise that the NE winds have slowed its progress. The next signal transmission is expected on Monday morning, by which time it may be back in the Yare Valley in Norfolk. One thing we do know is that when it arrives it will be confronted by a very wet landscape, yesterday’s rain took us to a monthly total of 4 inches, over 200% of the monthly average for April. Other parts of Norfolk have had even more.

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First Swallows

April 21, 2012

This morning, before the rains returned, two Swallows swooped and turned over the grazing meadows. I wondered whether they felt that they had arrived too early as the weather turned to rain. The last swallows that I had seen were the late leaving laggards of last autumn, but the spring arrivals in north-west Spain. They flew around in the warmth of a Barcelona evening amongst the Parakeets and Spotless Starlings of the Parc de la Cuitadella; the wet northern spring must come as quite a shock.

Young Roebuck

April 19, 2012

The grass on the fallow land is becoming more palatable. This evidence was the presence of a young Roebuck on Mr Crane’s land. The railway line lay between the buck and home. As he caught sight of me, he took to his heels in a wide arc around the field, I stood and waited. Perhaps he would clear the railway fence in a fine arching leap? But no as he approached the fence he gingerly explored up and down until, on finding a slack section of fence he carefully negotiated his way through and slipped back towards Keeper’s Wood.

Marauding hawk

April 19, 2012

It was the alarm call of a Partridge that drew my attention. Although as a game species they are prone to raising such alarms, this one was clearly serious. It was flying arrow straight, wings whirring and at about 10 ft in altitude over the Town Field. Slightly above and behind the Partridge was the cause of the furore, a large female Sparrowhawk. The Sparrowhawk was intent on it’s prey and it initially failed to notice that it was itself being pursued by a Carrion Crow. But when it did it veered and climbed leaving the Partridge to fight for another day. Small dramas on a quiet spring morning.

Hawk corridor

April 5, 2012

Tension spreads by insistent alarm calls from songbirds. It was a morning of small drama along the railway line. The cause of the electric atmosphere was a male Sparrowhawk; the hunter weaves from along the Blackthorn in a hedge-hugging flight alternating between powerful rowing wing beats and fast glides. Every few yards he swings from one side of the hedge to the other. Never more than two feet above it, I felt I could see his cold yellow concentrated eye as he sped along. In fact the hunting pass is over in seconds and the finches had all successfully dived for cover. The panic continues like a corridor ahead of him, whilst in his wake wildlife visibly relaxes and returns to normality.