I have had 'flu before, but I have never had a virus like the one which knocked me for six since the latter part of last week. I think I am now recovering, however, after a short walk this morning my body was telling me I am not strong yet as I just could not get any pace up at all.
At 0830 I took a very short walk along a quiet road near Bodney. Cloud was variable and quite low and the cool wind blew from the north-east. The wide expanses of arable land with few hedgerows here leaves one feeling very exposed.
I was hoping to find an early Stone Curlew, given that the species is an early arrival, however, none were seen on this occasion.
Very little else was seen until I detected the movement of a small bird between the ground and a coppiced Ash on a field/track edge. Stopping to locate the bird in my binoculars I first saw a small passerine with an Orangey/Peachy breast and light brown head, this was a beautiful female Stonechat. This was quite a lucky find as the bird was keeping low in the wind and showed no more after this initial contact.
Stonechats are quite scarce birds in Norfolk but I do find singles or pairs in most years on my patch, generally in autumn and spring. This is a resident species which makes small movements away from their breeding grounds in the winter months, and being short distant migrants it is therefore likely that this bird will be one of a pair that will hopefully breed locally.