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January 2009

 

Saturday 31st January

Having promised not to completely neglect my local patch I thought I'd better start off at Swanton Morley this morning. Not much there: at least 1 Little Egret in flight and the usual stuff like Water Rails.

After failing to find Lesser Spotted Woodpecker nearby I headed up to Burnham Overy Marsh again. I don't normally like places where there are lots of people but I never fail to enjoy the walk out to the dunes from Burnham Overy Staithe. There are usually a few birds to be seen too and today's bag included Ruddy Duck, Peregrine, Hen Harrier, Pale-bellied Brent Goose, and at least one hybrid Black Brant x Dark-bellied Brent Goose (or can real ones show this much contrast?). My best bird of the day though was one of 2-3 Kingfishers which I spent 20 minutes watching in perfect light as it fed in pools close to the sea wall - the other passers by were just as impressed as I was. From the dunes a quick sea watch provided a stream of Kittiwakes moving east but not much else apart from a single Gannet.

Finally I stopped off at Stiffkey Campsite and walked along to Stiffkey Fen (a lot further than I'd remembered!). The fen held about 250 Pintail while the walk back to the car produced 2 Barn Owls, Short-eared Owl and a nice male Hen Harrier.

Black Brant hybrid, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09 Black Brant hybrid, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09

probable hybrid adult Black Brant x Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Burnham Overy Marsh, 31st January 2009 - or can pure birds look like this?

 

Kingfisher, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09 Kingfisher, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09
Kingfisher, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09 Kingfisher, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09
Kingfisher, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09 Kingfisher, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09
Kingfisher, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09 Kingfisher, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09
Kingfisher, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09 Kingfisher, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09
Kingfisher, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09 Kingfisher, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09
Kingfisher, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09 Kingfisher, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09

Kingfisher, Burnham Overy Marsh, 31st January 2009

Wigeon, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09 Wigeon, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09

first-winter male Wigeon, Burnham Overy Marsh, 31st January 2009

 

Shelduck, Burnham Overy Marsh, 31-Jan-09 Shelduck, Burnham Overy Marsh, 31-Jan-09

Shelducks, Burnham Overy Marsh, 31st January 2009

 

Curlew, Burnham Overy Marsh, 31-Jan-09 Curlew, Burnham Overy Marsh, 31-Jan-09

Curlews, Burnham Overy Marsh, 31st January 2009

 

Curlew, Stiffkey, 31-Jan-09 Curlew, Stiffkey, 31-Jan-09

Curlews, Stiffkey, 31st January 2009

 

Peregrine, Burnham Overy, 10-Jan-04 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Burnham Overy, 10-Jan-04

Peregrine (left) and adult Pale-bellied Brent Goose (with Dark-bellied Brent Goose; right), Burnham Overy, 31st January 2009

 

Ruddy Duck, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09 Ruddy Duck, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09

Ruddy Duck, Burnham Overy Marsh, 31st January 2009

 

Wednesday 28th January

Loads of birds in roadside hedges at Flitcham today during my lunchbreak including easily 20 Bramblings and 1 Tree Sparrow. Also a Buzzard flying in the rain.

Tree Sparrow, Flitcham, 28-Jan-09  

Tree Sparrow, Flitcham, 28th January 2009

 

Sunday 25th January

The wet weather forecast for today didn't inspire me to get out early but I eventually dragged myself out. Dave and I went to Kings Lynn Docks first where Peregrine and Scaup were the only birds of note. Then news of the Black-bellied Dipper reappearing at Letheringsett sent us scurrying back. We didn't imagine we would get there in time and true to expectations we arrived two minutes after it had flown off under the bridge. I've spent a fair bit of time looking for this elusive creature but nothing compared to Dave for whom this was looking like it would be his 19th unsuccessful attempt! However, since flying off no-one had yet looked up river from the bridge so it was too soon to give up hope. We agreed with the others on site to check from the bridge - ensuring we all looked together in case the first of us accidentally flushed it in the process. From the bridge I was very happy to find myself looking at the Dipper (though not half as happy as Dave was!); although this was my 4th Dipper in the county it was my first for 15 years, so good to catch up with it at last.

With the rain not showing any signs of relenting we couldn't think of anything else in the area worth getting wet for so we decided to head back west to carry on looking for the Black Redstart and, when the rain eased a little, the Rough-legged Buzzard that is rumoured to be at Massingham again this winter. No sign of either; just the Peregrine back on its tower. Finally I decided to attempt 4 easy year-ticks at Welney as they could theoretically be viewed from a warm, dry car. Two of them (Whooper and Bewick's Swans) were easy enough, the others weren't and Water Rail and Little Egret in the dykes were the best we could muster up. Nearby, but not countable on my county year-list as it was in Cambridgeshire, the Great White Egret showed well but distantly in a dyke at Pymoor.

In case anyone's wondering where all my Swanton Morley/Sparham Pools birding has gone, I've not given up on patch birding this year completely and hope to get down there soon. However this year I've decided that I'll try and do a bit more birding round the county than I have done of late. I find the best incentive to tear yourself away from your local patch and get out to see some decent birds is to keep a county year-list. It won't be a serious attempt to break any records, and I can't see myself running up Blakeney Point after work just to see an Icterine Warbler, but I do hope to get out and about a bit more, and hopefully see a few interesting things in the process. Don't worry - I won't make a habit of it: I usually do a year-list once every 10 years although this one's a bit ahead of time.

Black-bellied Dipper, Letheringsett, 25-Jan-09 Black-bellied Dipper, Letheringsett, 25-Jan-09

Black-bellied Dipper, Little Thornage/Letheringsett, 25th January 2009

 

Scaup, Kings Lynn, 25-Jan-09 Peregrine, Kings Lynn, 25-Jan-09

first-winter male Scaup (with Mallard) (left) and Peregrine (right), Kings Lynn Docks, 25th January 2009

 

Great White Egret, Pymoor, 25-Jan-09 Great White Egret, Pymoor, 25-Jan-09

Great White Egret, Pymoor, 25th January 2009

 

Saturday 24th January

After picking up a Little Owl at Flitcham I stopped off in a part of the county where I'd heard rumours of Dartford Warbler and Great Grey Shrike being seen occasionally. The Great Grey Shrike was found immediately, and surprisingly, it showed remarkably well. The Dartford Warbler took a bit more finding but eventually gave good, if usually brief, views. Also seen in the area were 31 Crossbills (two pairs and a flock of 27) and a Peregrine. A very strange and unfamiliar call reminded me a bit of Sparrowhawk's begging call but was quite different in several respects. I half-joked that it was a Goshawk, then listened to a recording of Goshawk (a species I'd never heard before) and to my astonishment the recording sounded exactly the same! Not sure I should claim this one but I can't think what else could sound like that!

After this decided to head up to Burnham Overy Marsh. The Ross's Goose was at Burnham Overy Staithe and later at Burnham Overy Marsh, and two hybrid Black Brant x Dark-bellied Brent Geese were also on the marsh. A flock of about 100 White-fronted Geese flew directly overhead over the Dunes before turning back towards Holkham.

Great Grey Shrike, west Norfolk, 24-Jan-09 Great Grey Shrike, west Norfolk, 24-Jan-09

Great Grey Shrike, undisclosed location, 24th January 2009

 

Ross's Goose, Burnham Overy, 24-Jan-09 Ross's Goose, Burnham Overy, 24-Jan-09

Ross's Goose, Burnham Overy, 24th January 2009

 

Crossbill, west Norfolk, 24-Jan-09 Crossbills, west Norfolk, 24-Jan-09

Crossbills, undisclosed location, 24th January 2009

 

Grey Partridge, Flitcham, 24-Jan-09 Grey Partridge, Flitcham, 24-Jan-09

Grey Partridges, Flitcham, 24th January 2009

 

Peregrine, west Norfolk, 24-Jan-09 Peregrine, west Norfolk, 24-Jan-09

Peregrine, undisclosed location, 24th January 2009

 

Sunday 18th January

Holkham this morning produced Velvet Scoter, Woodcock and 50 Snow Buntings and once I'd reached the furthest point from the car I received news that the Black-bellied Dipper was back on the Glaven again, this time near Thornage. By the time I arrived not only was the bird long gone, so were all the birders - so no clue as to which way it had gone. After checking a few likely spots (unfortunately in the wrong direction as it turned out) I headed up to Sheringham where the 2 Purple Sandpipers were found on the rocks in front of the town. Next came a failed attempt to find Dartford Warblers and then, once again, just as I reached the furthest point from the car park the pager informed me that the Dipper had now been relocated at Hunworth. Of course, it disappeared again just before I got there and after a fairly thorough search downriver from here it was time for me to head off home. Shortly afterwards it returned to Hunworth - I would have just had time to squeeze in a visit but I missed the message and by the time the next update came through I no longer had time. Doh!

Purple Sandpiper, Sheringham, 18-Jan-09 Purple Sandpiper, Sheringham, 18-Jan-09
Purple Sandpiper, Sheringham, 18-Jan-09  

Purple Sandpiper, Sheringham, 18th January 2009

 

Saturday 17th January

A rainy morning spent searching various mainly unsuitable stretches of river/stream in north Norfolk trying to find the Dipper that's apparently wintering there. I guess it's wintering on a private estate close to where it's most often been seen in the Glaven valley, but with one recent report from near Walsingham it could potentially be knocking around anywhere. When it stopped raining I went to Titchwell where I found Black Brant and what were apparently two different Water Pipits. Also a very distant Great Northern Diver landed on the sea but not a great deal else. Saw a ringtail Hen Harrier between Choseley and Docking.

Sculthorpe Moor is always a good place to see things like Marsh Tits, Bramblings and Water Rails and there's always a chance of a Willow Tit. Having gorged myself on Bramblings , Nuthatch and a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers, I caught a brief view of a very noisy Willow Tit (with Marsh Tits in the same spot I'm glad it was calling). A Water Rail showed well in the usual place.

Later on at a different place I went looking for Long-eared Owls. I wasn't sure if I was in the right place or not but found out when one flew right past me. It was nearly dark by this time though, so I shall hopefully return for a better view. There were 2 other birders there while I was but I hope the site doesn't become too well known as LEOs are always vulnerable to disturbance by birders. Also a Woodcock here.

Robin, Titchwell, 17-Jan-09 Black Brant, Titchwell, 17-Jan-09

Robin (left) and Black Brant (right), Titchwell, 17th January 2009

 

Hen Harrier, Choseley-Docking, 17-Jan-09 Hen Harrier, Choseley-Docking, 17-Jan-09

Hen Harrier, between Choseley and Docking (Norfolk, UK), 17th January 2009

 

Nuthatch, Sculthorpe Moor, 17-Jan-09 Nuthatch, Sculthorpe Moor, 17-Jan-09

Nuthatch, Sculthorpe Moor, 17th January 2009

 

Brambling, Sculthorpe Moor, 17-Jan-09 Brambling, Sculthorpe Moor, 17-Jan-09
Brambling, Sculthorpe Moor, 17-Jan-09 Brambling, Sculthorpe Moor, 17-Jan-09
Brambling, Sculthorpe Moor, 17-Jan-09 Brambling, Sculthorpe Moor, 17-Jan-09

Bramblings, Sculthorpe Moor, 17th January 2009

 

Water Rail, Sculthorpe Moor, 17-Jan-09 Water Rail, Sculthorpe Moor, 17-Jan-09

Water Rail, Sculthorpe Moor, 17th January 2009

 

Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sculthorpe Moor, 17-Jan-09 Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sculthorpe Moor, 17-Jan-09

Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Sculthorpe Moor, 17th January 2009

 

Long-tailed Tit, Sculthorpe Moor, 17-Jan-09 Long-tailed Tit, Sculthorpe Moor, 17-Jan-09

Long-tailed Tit, Sculthorpe Moor, 17th January 2009

 

Marsh Tit, Sculthorpe Moor, 17-Jan-09 Marsh Tit, Sculthorpe Moor, 17-Jan-09
Marsh Tit, Sculthorpe Moor, 17-Jan-09 Marsh Tit, Sculthorpe Moor, 17-Jan-09

Marsh Tits?, Sculthorpe Moor, 17th January 2009 - both Marsh and Willow Tits were present and calling but on the tables they dashed in and out so quick it was impossible to both identify them and photograph them at the same time. Hence I wasn't sure what I was going to come home with, but suspected mainly Marsh. As it turns out I haven't been able to pick out any photos of Willow Tit, although there are one or two which I'm not sure about.

 

Sunday 11th January

Norfolk's first rare bird of the year turned up today, right where I'd spent half the morning yesterday - a Killdeer at Saddlebow. Being a laid back sort of guy (occasionally) I decided to finish yesterday's washing up and wait for Vitty to cook lunch before heading off to see it - turned out to be a good decision as if I'd have left straight away I reckon I'd have been about 5 minutes short when it flew off, and would still have to do the washing up when I got home. As it was I was still eating my lunch when it flew off so didn't waste any time or petrol. Instead I decided to pop out locally but by the time I finished faffing and got out of the door it was already getting dark. Had a look for a couple of White-fronts that had been reported along the Hoe Road at Worthing but couldn't find them - 2 Barnacle Geese and 2 hybrid Canada x Greylag Geese there instead. Then had a little drive round looking for Little Owls but instead found a Woodcock near Sennowe Park.

 

Saturday 10th January

Started off this morning at River Ouse relief channel where I made the mistake of getting out of the car on one of the bridges. My ears turned to ice instantly but despite the Antarctic conditions I managed to find the 2 Smew (redheads) from the Wiggenhall St Germans bridge, followed by a pair of Goosander at the Saddlebow bridge and 2 more redhead Goosanders from Magdalen. A Water Rail flew across the river and there might have been a Slav Grebe there too, but I was too cold to look at it properly.

I might have spent a bit longer there but Dave N called to say he was watching the Iceland Gull nearby at Blackborough End. I arrived just in time to see a large group of gulls disappearing over the trees, presumably containing the Iceland Gull and Caspian Gull that he'd been watching until moments before I turned up. After a long, cold wait I did eventually see the Iceland Gull but it didn't hang around. The Caspian Gull also appeared briefly, and distantly - at least I think that's what it is but let me know if you think otherwise (if you can tell from my truly awful photos).

Another gull had us going for a while. In the field its pale primaries were the most obvious feature that differentiated it from any of the commoner species, although clearly too dark for Iceland or Glaucous. Pale Herring Gull was eliminated at the time as - although I knew they can show paler than usual primaries, I wasn't aware they could show a pattern quite like this. So, as it seemed quite large (though it was with Black-headed Gulls mainly so hard to be sure about size) we thought about hybrids, the most likely of which is Glaucous x Herring. Warming up in the car a bit later we viewed the photos on the camera and compared them to the photos in 'Gulls'. Nothing like the Glaucous x Herring in there but it didn't seem all that unlike Kumlien's! Could it really be Kumlien's? We were doubtful as we'd not got that impression at all in the field, but it was worth another look if we could re-find it. We couldn't (although it had reappeared briefly while we were in the car) and eventually we gave up when we couldn't hold our bins still any more from the cold.

Back at the ranch and looking through the photos on the screen (so much easier than the back of the camera!) I'm still not sure what it is. Pretty sure it's not Kumlien's (unfortunately), and now the pale Herring Gull option seems favourite. Apparently they (or at least birds that are identified as pale Herring Gulls) can appear very similar to this.

Other birds here included Grey Wagtail and Nuthatch. Finally the Peregrine on its tower at Kings Lynn brought the day to a close.

Goosander, Saddlebow, 10-Jan-09 Goosander, Saddlebow, 10-Jan-09

Goosanders, Saddlebow, 10th January 2009

 

Iceland Gull, Blackborough End, 10-Jan-09 Iceland Gull, Blackborough End, 10-Jan-09
Iceland Gull, Blackborough End, 10-Jan-09 Iceland Gull, Blackborough End, 10-Jan-09

juvenile Iceland Gull, Blackborough End, 10th January 2009

 

Caspian Gull, Blackborough End, 10-Jan-09 Caspian Gull, Blackborough End, 10-Jan-09
Caspian Gull, Blackborough End, 10-Jan-09  

Caspian Gull, Blackborough End, 10th January 2009 - I'm not especially confident about this one - if you have a view please let me know!

 

Gull, Blackborough End, 10-Jan-09 Gull, Blackborough End, 10-Jan-09
Gull, Blackborough End, 10-Jan-09 Gull, Blackborough End, 10-Jan-09
Gull, Blackborough End, 10-Jan-09 Gull, Blackborough End, 10-Jan-09
Gull, Blackborough End, 10-Jan-09 Gull, Blackborough End, 10-Jan-09
Gull, Blackborough End, 10-Jan-09 Gull, Blackborough End, 10-Jan-09
Gull, Blackborough End, 10-Jan-09  

Gull sp., possibly Herring Gull?, Blackborough End, 10th January 2009 - if you have an opinion about this, please let me know!

 

Friday 9th January

Following a suggestion that there might not be any Twite at Thornham this winter and all the claims could relate to stringy Linnets, I started to doubt my flight-only non-calling Twites that I saw there last week. Inspired by this doubt I popped in to Brancaster Staithe for 10 minutes at lunchtime, a site where I occasionally see Twite, though not on the majority of lunch-time visits. Almost as soon as I'd arrived I heard the distinctive sound of a flock of Twite approaching and 30 birds wheezed right past the car before heading off in the direction of Brancaster. They stopped for a while on some rigging where, although distant, the buffy faces and throats were clearly visible. Also a couple of Buzzards between there and work.

Bar-tailed Godwit, Brancaster Staithe, 9-Jan-09 Bar-tailed Godwit, Brancaster Staithe, 9-Jan-09

Bar-tailed Godwits, Brancaster Staithe, 9th January 2009

 

Thursday 8th January

The Pink-feet at Amner were easier to see today but nothing exciting among them - a leucistic Pink-foot was the best.

Pink-footed Goose, Amner, 8-Jan-09 Pink-footed Goose, Amner, 8-Jan-09
Pink-footed Goose, Amner, 8-Jan-09 Pink-footed Goose, Amner, 8-Jan-09

Pink-footed Geese (the leucistic bird bottom right), Amner, 8th January 2009

 

Wednesday 7th January

A Merlin flew across the road near work today.

 

Tuesday 6th January

Driving along the A1067 this morning on the way to work I was surprised to see a Waxwing sat on top of the roadside hedge just SE of the water tower at the Foulsham turn. My first in the local area.

At lunchtime I had a look for the geese at Amner. Most of them were against the light and those that weren't didn't have anything interesting with them so I pressed on to Wolferton where a female-type Golden Pheasant was on the verge very briefly.

 

Sunday 4th January

Swanton Morley was disappointing this morning with not a lot happening, a shame as I was showing Toby round. Not completely birdless though, if nothing especially unusual: some fly-over Redpolls, the Pochard x Tufted Duck hybrid still present, a Water Rail calling and 21 Teal, my highest count for this site. Also a Stoat chasing a Rabbit.

After this I planned to look for Willow Tits at Bintree Woods but I never quite reached there. Along the road from Billingford to Bintree I discovered a large flock of Buntings and Finches and spent the next hour and a half trying to pull a Little Bunting (or something rarer like a Tree Sparrow) out of the bag. No such luck but a good flock that's worth keeping an eye on - I'd guess about 200 birds mostly Yellowhammers but also quite a few Reed Buntings, Bramblings, Chaffinches, etc.

After that I was starving and had a splitting headache so decided to return home for lunch instead of pressing on to Bintree Woods. After feeding time was finished I still didn't feel great and didn't fancy a walk in the cold dodging dogs at Bintree and instead went for a drive. First stop was Thorpe St Andrew where 20 Waxwings were easy to find along Dussingdale Drive (shame they weren't so easy on Friday when I wasted an hour and a half looking for them). From there the Acle Straight was near enough to be worth a trip to see the Ross's Goose which I'd missed on Thursday. Driving back between Acle and Norwich the pager informed me that a Bittern was showing in the open at Strumpshaw Fen. I was only ten minutes away so I thought I'll have some of that! Ten minutes later the Bittern wasn't showing in the open any more, or showing at all. After not too long a wait though it reappeared and gave some stonking views for a few minutes.

Waxwing, Thorpe St Andrew, 4-Jan-09 Waxwing, Thorpe St Andrew, 4-Jan-09

Waxwings, Thorpe St Andrew, 4th January 2009

 

Bittern, Strumpshaw Fen, 4-Jan-09 Bittern, Strumpshaw Fen, 4-Jan-09
Bittern, Strumpshaw Fen, 4-Jan-09 Bittern, Strumpshaw Fen, 4-Jan-09

Bittern, Strumpshaw Fen (Norfolk, UK), 4th January 2009

 

Saturday 3rd January

I set the alarm for 3 with a view to driving up to Cleveland but having spent a full day failing to see Britain's first Glaucous-winged Gull in south Wales not all that long ago, the possibility of spending a full day failing to see Britain's second was all too daunting. Past visits to the area have been successful with two equally rare birds, Great Knot and Short-billed Dowitcher, but frankly the whole area is a miserable depressing smelly hole, easily the most unpleasant place in the entire world. If I'd been confident of seeing the Glaucous-winged Gull I would have gone and endured the location but knowing how difficult these things can be (it wasn't exactly showing well all day yesterday) I decided to give it a miss this time.

Instead I returned to the Norfolk coast where the first place I saw anything worth reporting was Thornham. Here the Twites were difficult but a Peregrine gave good views as it scared all the Woodpigeons at Holme (the ones that hadn't just been shot). One or two Stonechats were there and then when I went down a little path through the saltmarsh looking for Skylarks (as I thought there might have been a Lapland Bunting among them) I flushed a small, short-winged, not-very-long-billed and very boldly stripe-backed bird. It flew a short distance in a straightish line, wiggled a bit and dropped back into the saltmarsh, not much further away. No, not a Quail (although it did remind me of one a bit) but a Jack Snipe - nice surprise, especially after the slightly annoying news that one was at Titchwell shortly after I'd left there yesterday. Don't think I've ever seen them in saltmarsh before, but the shooters had probably put it up from the marshy fields earlier (or maybe they're often in saltmarsh?).

With slightly calmer conditions I thought Titchwell might be worth another look. Not much doing there though - views of Cetti's Warbler and Water Rail were perhaps most interesting, and another Stonechat. Driving east I saw a Hen Harrier heading towards roost at Warham and then at Cockthorpe the large Brent Goose flock contained at least 1 Black Brant, 1 hybrid Black Brant x Dark-bellied Brent Goose and 1 Pale-bellied Brent Goose. All rather distant, mainly thanks to the twitchers getting out of there car to watch them. They probably thought they weren't disturbing them as they were already a fair way off but it was noticeable how the flock gradually moved further away when there were people out of their cars and gradually moved nearer when there weren't. Unfotunately the only other birder who was sensible enough to stay in his car saw fit to play Radio Norfolk to them at loud volume instead. Brent Geese, despite being rather dowdy birds, don't like Radio Norfolk.

Finally I went to Cley to see if I could find the Glaucous Gull which I'd missed in two half-hearted attempts over the last couple of days. Another Stonechat here and as the light faded I eventually located the gull on North Scrape. Not as good as a Glaucous-winged Gull, but at least as ugly.

Teal, Titchwell, 3-Jan-09 Teal, Titchwell, 3-Jan-09

Teal, Titchwell, 3rd January 2009

 

Little Grebe, Titchwell, 3-Jan-09 Little Grebe, Titchwell, 3-Jan-09

Little Grebe, Titchwell, 3rd January 2009

 

Oystercatchers, Brancaster Staithe, 3-Jan-08 Black-tailed Godwit, Titchwell, 3-Jan-08

Oystercatcher, Brancaster Staithe, 3rd January 2009

 

Black-tailed Godwit, Titchwell, 3rd January 2009

 

Goldeneye, Titchwell, 3-Jan-09 Goldeneye, Titchwell, 3-Jan-09

Goldeneyes, Titchwell, 3rd January 2009

 

Shoveler, Titchwell, 3-Jan-09 Shoveler, Titchwell, 3-Jan-09
Shoveler, Titchwell, 3-Jan-09 Shoveler, Titchwell, 3-Jan-09

Shovelers, Titchwell, 3rd January 2009

 

Water Rail, Titchwell, 3-Jan-09 House Sparrow, Titchwell, 3-Jan-09

Water Rail (left) and House Sparrow (right), Tichwell, 3rd January 2009

 

Brent Goose, Titchwell, 3-Jan-09 Brent Goose, Titchwell, 3-Jan-09

juvenile Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Titchwell (Norfolk, UK), 3rd January 2009

 

Glaucous Gull, Cley, 3-Jan-09 Glaucous Gull, Cley, 3-Jan-09

Glaucous Gull, Cley, 3rd January 2009

 

Friday 2nd January

Titchwell this morning was much colder than I'd expected with a fresh northerly blowing there. With the choppy waves, little on the sea was visible including the Red-necked Grebe which I fortunately saw before it pitched in. Flying by were Long-tailed Duck and Great Skua. Four Snow Buntings were the only other interesting thing I saw at Titchwell, apart from a couple of Spotted Redshanks if you class them as interesting.

South of Wells I located a Pink-foot flock at Crabbe Castle Farm (it was more interesting than looking for Dippers along a completely unsuitable stream where one had been seen a few days ago - the reason for my diversion). Among them were 2 Barnacle Geese and 2 Tundra Bean Geese.

All in all a disappointing and unproductive day (for the number of hours I spent in the field), one which would have been much more fruitful if I'd gone to Cleveland instead (where there's a Glaucous-winged Gull).

Snow Bunting, Titchwell, 2-Jan-09 Snow Bunting, Titchwell, 2-Jan-09

Snow Bunting, Titchwell (Norfolk, UK), 2nd January 2009

 

Sanderling, Titchwell, 2-Jan-09 Spotted Redshank, Titchwell, 2-Jan-09

Sanderling (left) and Spotted Redshank (right), Titchwell, 2nd January 2009

 

Sanderlings, Titchwell, 2-Jan-09 Sanderlings, Titchwell, 2-Jan-09
Sanderlings, Titchwell, 2-Jan-09 Sanderlings, Titchwell, 2-Jan-09

Sanderlings, Titchwell, 2nd January 2009

 

Tundra Bean Goose, S of Wells, 2-Jan-09 Tundra Bean Goose, S of Wells, 2-Jan-09
Tundra Bean Goose, S of Wells, 2-Jan-09

Tundra Bean Geese with Pink-footed Geese, Crabbe Castle Farm, south of Wells, 2nd January 2009

 

Thursday 1st January

Apart from a Blackbird that was woken up (with me) by the fireworks at 5 past midnight, a Barn Owl at Hellesdon was the first bird of the year. First stop was Whitlingham Broad where the female Scaup was still present. Not much else apart from a Goldeneye, and a Barnacle Goose with the Greylags.

I nearly gave up too soon at Cantley but fortunately a flock of about 100 geese flew in just in time. I thought they were mostly Taiga Bean Geese with the odd White-front but judging from the extremely poor photos I took there might have been a higher proportion of White-fronts than I'd noticed in the field so I'm not sure how many Beans to claim (there are some Taiga Beans showing in the photos so I wasn't going completely bonkers!).

Halvergate produced a few Pink-feet feeding and a few more flying over in the distance but none of them were Ross's. They were all way too far off to even think about identifying anything else. So on to Great Yarmouth where there were at least 42 Mediterranean Gulls - which I think is the most I've ever counted in this country. Nearly as enjoyable as the bacon butty.

Waxham provided me with another record count - 27 Cranes. Two juveniles among them and a Barn Owl hunting in the same area. They all flew off towards Brograve Levels when someone decided the field would be a good place to take their dog.

Having seen the Cranes without needing to endure the Stubbs Mill roost (it's always freezing and a long walk) I had time to head up to Felbrigg where Hawfinch and Mandarin were enjoyed.

Mandarin, Felbrigg, 1-Jan-09 Mandarin, Felbrigg, 1-Jan-09

Mandarin, Felbrigg Lake, 1st January 2009

 

Mediterranean Gull, Great Yarmouth, 1-Jan-09 Mediterranean Gull, Great Yarmouth, 1-Jan-09
Mediterranean Gull, Great Yarmouth, 1-Jan-09 Mediterranean Gull, Great Yarmouth, 1-Jan-09
Mediterranean Gull, Great Yarmouth, 1-Jan-09 Mediterranean Gull, Great Yarmouth, 1-Jan-09

Mediterranean Gulls, Great Yarmouth, 1st January 2009

 

Crane, Waxham, 1-Jan-09
Crane, Waxham, 1-Jan-09
Crane, Waxham, 1-Jan-09 Crane, Waxham, 1-Jan-09

Cranes, Waxham, 1st January 2009

 

Goldeneye, Whitlingham, 1-Jan-09 Taiga Bean Geese, Cantley, 1-Jan-09

Goldeneye, Whitlingham Broad (left) and Taiga Bean Geese, Cantley (right), 1st January 2009

 

 

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