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Sunday, 9 January 2011

Norfolk

Johnny 'Badgeman' Allan picked me up at 5.10am this morning and we headed to Wallington to jump in Nick 'Pyro' and Russell 'Gripper' Gardner's Northern Harrier-bound car. The first bird of the day was a Woodcock which flew over the motorway in the early hours. We also had two Barn Owls on the way so things were looking quite good.

drake American Wigeon (left) with drake Eurasian Wigeon

No more than twenty minutes after setting up at Thornham Harbour, viewing towards Titchwell, had we got onto the splendid juvenile male Northern Harrier - it was a very striking bird indeed, but I'm not sure what the exact situation is with the identification. Also seen here was a ringtail Hen Harrier and vast skeins of Pink-footed Geese amongst other things.

Spotted Redshank

With the problem of the short winter days, we had to head to Titchwell quite sharpish. A quick check of a small gathering of Mute Swans near the entrance road provided a Whooper. A good variety of birds where seen here. A lovely flock of about forty Twite on the brackish marsh was brilliant to see; I've tried for this species on numerous occasions and never had any luck so this was an overdue lifer. Also on the marshes were about four smart Spotted Redshanks and a Sanderling. The sea provided the most interest, the highlight being a drake Long-tailed Duck, a party of five Snow Buntings and several Velvet Scoters. Other noteworthy birds included Red-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, about five Eider, a Great Northern Diver, a Goldeneye, a couple of Bar-tailed Godwits and hundreds upon hundreds of Common Scoters. On the way out a few Siskins and Lesser Redpolls showed well.

Twite

The next stop was to Cley and very brief. The prim drake American Wigeon was picked up relatively easily with a flock of Eurasians.

Then on to Cantley Marshes. The walk was pleasantly shorter than expected and the gatherings of Taiga Bean and Eurasian White-fronted Geese weren't a problem to find. Nor was the Lesser White-fronted Goose particularly. I'm not sure about the origins of this bird so will wait to see what the BBRC make of it before putting a mark in any box. Another Barn Owl put in a brief appearance as did a very smug local. We toyed with the idea of going to look for a Rough-legged Buzzard at Thorpe Marshes but when the satnav instructed us to 'bear left, then, take the ferry' across the river we thought it best to head home. Final noteworthy birds of the day before the journey back really got going included probably the showiest Barn Owl of the day and a group of ten or so Red-legged Partridges.

Lesser White-fronted Goose with Taiga Bean Geese

Many thanks to Nick and Russell for allowing me to fill their free seat and to Johnny for transporting me to and from Wallington. It was a great day!