In search of the Bee-eater

The news that a group of Bee-eaters, a colourful visitor from southern Europe had taken up residence in a disused quarry on the Norfolk coast saw Nicole, Andrew and I heading north one morning. The quarry near Trimmingham is being wardened by the RSPB who have designated a car park in a field and a viewpoint overlooking the quarry. As we arrived, we could see some of the birds perched on the the wires and it was only a short walk from the car park to the viewpoint. Immediately we were getting excellent, if not close, views of the birds perched on the wires. It soon became evident that they would fly off, catch a dragonfly or a butterfly, and then return to the wires to consume their meal.

Bee-eaters at Trimmingham (Photos by Nicole)

It is hoped that they will breed there this year and there has been some evidence of breeding activity, but as they breed in a hole in a sand bank, it is difficult to be certain whether breeding has taken place, although birds have been visiting two holes in a nearby bank. The real sign will be if eventually there are juveniles in the group.

We then decided to go to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Cley for lunch and it was very pleasant to sit on the balcony in the sun overlooking the reserve whilst having lunch.

After lunch we walked out to the three hides at the centre of the reserve. Here we saw Redshank, Lapwing, Dunlin, Ruff, Little Ringed Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher and Avocet. There were also a group of Little Egrets and two Spoonbills. Marsh Harriers frequently patrolled over the pools spooking the water birds.

In one of the hides, the Swallows had nested in the eves and were coming in to feed the youngsters, which could be seen peaking from the nest.

Swallow in nest (Photo by Nicole)

All too soon it was time to leave Norfolk and return to London. On the way back to the car park, Nicole spotted a Spider on the path. Looking at the photo, I think it is probably a female Wolf Spider. It is carrying its egg sack at the tip of it’s abdomen.

Wolf Spider (photo by Nicole)

Thank you to Andrew for driving and to Nicole for use of her photos and to both for the opportunity to go and see these wonderful birds.

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