Froize Uncovered April Bird Spectacular!

REPORT FROM Froize Uncovered – April 2024 BY john grant

Daft I know, but in my mind, I have a kind of mental menagerie of what I call ‘out-of-the-blue-birds’.

They’re species that, when I was an innocent ten-eleven-twelve-or-so-year-old lad just finding my feet in the immensely wonderful world of birdwatching, seemed so impossibly exotic that they never caused the merest blip on my ornithological radar. Or, for that matter, on the radar of even the most switched-on British birder. They were either deemed exclusively foreign or had never been heard of at all.

Amazingly, almost miraculously, however, they suddenly came from ‘out-of-the-blue’ in the ecological blinking of an eye to become firmly established as familiar British species in a matter of just a few years. 

I’m referring to such species as Cetti’s Warbler, Little Egret and Mediterranean Gull, for example. All three of these species were simply regarded as ‘holiday’ birds – species you could  once upon a time only hope to encounter on holidays in sunny southern Europe. Until, that is, they suddenly surged onto the British birding scene thanks to their northward range expansions, lured by our changing climate.

My first Mediterranean Gull had me running home from Langstone Harbour’s Eastney sewage outfall to consult what little literature I had as a 12-year-old Portsmouth lad. My first Cetti’s Warbler was seen – and heard – at Stodmarsh, Kent, on a 1970s twitch from Suffolk. My first Little Egret was seen in front of RSPB Minsmere’s East Hide around the same time – when I woke up from a snooze and dismissed it at first as simply a dream!

Our latest Froize walk had me frequently referring back to these ‘out-of-the-blue-birds’ because these ‘chameleon species’ that had changed their status as surely as any chameleon has ever changed its colours became a recurring theme during the morning.

We were welcomed onto the RSPB’s Hollesley Marshes nature reserve by a strident proclamation from a Cetti’s Warbler. Then a little white blob out on the marsh morphed into a Little Egret. And then the querulous Frankie Howerd or Kenneth Williams-like ‘oooooer’ call of Mediterranean Gulls cascaded down from the clear blue skies…’out-of-the-blue’ indeed.

A ‘red-head’ Goosander ( as female or immature male Goosanders are called) was a surprise – in a way another ‘out-of-the-blue-bird’ as this species has changed its status radically in Suffolk in recent years. No longer a scarce winter visitor, more a regular feature of our colder months and even an occasional breeder in the county. 

If anyone had told a 12-year-old me that one day I’d be showing people such species in East Anglia, enjoying them, yes, but hardly batting an eyelid and certainly showing no hint of surprise, I would never have believed them. But then, that’s one of the many beauties of birding. You never really know what lies around the corner, what joys will unfold. The unpredictability, the wonder of simply not knowing what is coming next, is all very much part of the charm.

We knew what was to come next in one sense though. Back to the Froize. The wondrous nature of David’s Froize feast was as predictable as it was delicious. He never fails…not so much ‘out-of-the-blue’, more like ‘out-of-the-kitchen’.


Guest blogger

A big thankyou to John Richardson for the use of the pictures


  • Mute Swan
  • Canada Goose
  • Greylag Goose
  • Shelduck
  • Mallard
  • Gadwall
  • Pintail
  • Shoveler
  • Eurasian Wigeon
  • Eurasian Teal
  • Pochard
  • Tufted Duck
  • Goosander
  • Pheasant
  • Little Grebe
  • Great Cormorant
  • Little Egret
  • Grey Heron
  • Marsh Harrier
  • Common Buzzard
  • Sparrowhawk
  • Kestrel
  • Moorhen
  • Coot
  • Oystercatcher
  • Avocet
  • Ringed Plover
  • Lapwing
  • Turnstone
  • Redshank
  • Common Snipe
  • Black-headed Gull
  • Common Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • Mediterranean Gull
  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • Feral Pigeon
  • Stock Dove
  • Wood Pigeon
  • Collared Dove
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Skylark
  • Sand Martin
  • Barn Swallow
  • Meadow Pipit
  • Pied Wagtail
  • Wren
  • Dunnock
  • Robin
  • Blackbird
  • Sedge Warbler
  • Cetti’s Warbler
  • Willow Warbler
  • Chiffchaff
  • Great Tit
  • Blue Tit
  • Magpie
  • Jackdaw
  • Rook
  • Carrion Crow
  • Starling
  • House Sparrow
  • Chaffinch
  • Linnet
  • Goldfinch
  • Reed Bunting

67 species