Abbey Farm, Flictcham, Norfolk – Friday 26th June 2015
View From The Hide At Abbey Farm, Flitcham, Norfolk
We left home at 4.20pm it was overcast and still and the temperature was 22˚C. On our way we saw a Kestrel and we arrived at Abbey Farm at 5.05pm when we had several light rain showers.
I think we always look forward to a visit to Abbey Farm as almost anything can turn up there. When we checked the visitors book it was good to see that the Kingfishers were making regular appearances again. After their nesting bank collapsed last year they have only been seen occasionally.
It looks as if the Little Owls have had 2 Owlets this year and we got to see one of them today. They are a bit difficult to spot because their favourite roosting place is in the tree roots but this is covered by a high bank of Nettles in front of it but today we got some clear views of 2 Little Owls in unusual places.
We'd Never Seen A Little Owl In This Position Before
We saw Oystercatchers with a chick but sadly the chick appears to have a problem with it’s left leg or foot as it was limping badly and toppled over several times and although it was feeding well you have to wonder what the future holds for this chick. Oystercatchers are good parents but until the chick is able to fly it is very vulnerable and especially here at Abbey Farm as there are many predators both avian and mammalian.
The main drama occurred with a Lapwing and a chick. Again Lapwings are very good and brave parents willing to defend their chicks against any predators but less than 40% of their chicks make it to adulthood. We saw the parent bird fend off a few attacks by Jackdaws but the high drama was caused by something much bigger that the adult bird could do nothing about.
There was a small herd of grazing Cows with their calves probably about 15-20 of them. They are very necessary at Abbey Farm not only as a living crop for the Farmer but also to keep this particular pasture suitable for all the birds that use it. We always enjoy watching the cattle especially the calves as they are quite inquisitive and today we saw one of them very interested in a Little Egret. He obviously wanted to know what it was and however much the Little Egret moved away from the calf it was determined that he was going to get at least a sniff of, if not a lick of it.
Hey! Who Are You Calling Duck?
The herd were slowly moving around the pasture until they got to where the Lapwing and the chick were looking for insects in the grass but as they approached some of the calves broke into a trot and very quickly the adult bird and the chick were separated. Normally this isn’t a problem as the chicks usually stop and sit tight at any danger but this time probably wasn’t the right time to do it. I could see the chick amongst the hooves of the cattle and they then started to lie down. The immediate thought was that one of the cattle might lie on the chick and for the next hour or so we saw the adult bird searching for the chick.
The adult Lapwing eventually moved away from the cattle and we thought all was lost but then miraculously the chick appeared down by the edge of a pool the only problem now was that it was in the open and the adult bird was quite a way from it but eventually they were re-united so at least this time there was a reprieve for the chick. Of course the cattle were completely oblivious to the drama they caused and quite happily carried on chewing the cud. We would never know what the calf thought about the Little Egret though.
We made our way home down the lane that runs alongside Abbey Farm and when we stopped to have a look at a Hare on one of the Farm Tracks a Buzzard sort of half flew, half fell out of a hedge and ran into another hedge. I could see that it didn’t have all it’s primary flight feathers so I presumed that this was young Buzzard that had recently fledged. On our way home we saw another two Kestrels and Little Owl perched on telegraph poles.
What we saw:
3 Little Owls
Moorhen & 2 chicks**
Mallard & 3 ducklings**
Coot & chicks**
Lapwing & chick
Teal (2 pairs)
Oystercatcher & chick**
Blackcap (heard only)
Tufted Duck (2 pairs)
* = Too mant to count
** = Several
Keep your eyes peeled and good spotting.