We'd seen 2 Barn Owls on the way up (Brisley and South Creake) and two more were hunting over fields here. A Goldeneye was in the channel (a second one there later) and another was in the reedy pool. There were lots of Pink-footed Geese showing well but all I could pick out from among them were 2 Barnacle Geese and 4 White-fronted Geese. From the dunes we saw a drake Pintail fly west with a flock of Wigeon and a Rough-legged Buzzard was eventually seen distantly over Holkham Pines.
From the east end of the dunes 2 Velvet Scoters were seen, well away from the Common Scoter flock. A flock of 6 Bullfinches and a Woodcock were flushed into Holkham Pines and as we walked back we got much better views of a Rough-legged Buzzard as it flew along the dunes. From near the reedy pool we could see Red Kite and 2 Ruff.
I checked a close group of Brent Geese and immediately saw that they contained a Black Brant x Dark-bellied Brent Goose hybrid.
Black Brant x Dark-bellied Brent Goose hybrid, Burnham Overy, 1st January
Then I noticed that it seemed to be part of a family party consisting of it, an adult Dark-bellied Brent Goose and three juveniles. The five birds were slightly apart from the rest of the flock and seemed to be associating with each other like a family party would, so it seems reasonable to assume that the juveniles were the offspring of the hybrid and the Dark-bellied Brent Goose - i.e. they were backcrossed (Black Brant x Dark-bellied Brent Goose) x Dark-bellied Brent Goose hybrids. Not that I would have been able to figure that out if they'd been alone!
Black Brant x Dark-bellied Brent Goose hybrid with Dark-bellied Brent Goose and 3 presumed juvenile backcrossed (Black Brant x Dark-bellied Brent Goose) x Dark-bellied Brent Goose hybrids, Burnham Overy, 1st January
We started heading west before deciding fish and chips at Wells would be a good bet, so turned round in Burnham Norton. Pausing briefly in the car park for a quick scan proved very worthwhile. A Pale-bellied Brent Goose was among the Brents and as I was watching that a fine male Hen Harrier flew past. Apparent rufousy markings on the flanks may have been remnants of juvenile plumage as this seemed to be a second-year bird - the extent of black on the primaries seemed to rule out any optimistic thoughts that it might be a Northern Harrier.
Hen Harrier, Burnham Norton, 1st January
After meeting Dave and Jackie and eating fish and chips we headed off towards home, pausing briefly to look through the massive Brent flock between Binham and Hindringham. Unfortunately the majority of birds quickly went out of view over the brow of the hill and most of the ones that were left were very distant, so we didn't give these as careful a look as we might have done. Instead we headed off to our inland patch where we saw naff all.