A diary of my birding activity covering highlights and photos from my birding adventures. Mainly Norfolk (UK), occasionally beyond. I might mention the odd thing that isn't avian, but for moth and other insect news check out my mothing diary.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Kites and a couple of Rough-legs

I started Burnham Overy at first light and walked down from the staithe towards the beach.  A Barn Owl quartered the fields on the right, a Pintail was in the channel and 2 Fieldfares flew in from the direction of the sea.  As usual, wave after wave of Pink-footed Geese flew over heading inland to feed - a spectacular sight as always.  It was bitterly cold with a biting wind, but beautiful.

Pink-footed Geese over the sunrise, Burnham Overy, 17th January

As I neared the dunes I spotted a group of 5 Red Kites hanging around low over Gun Hill during a flurry of snow.  I imagine they'd roosted there as I think I'd have seen them coming in otherwise.  After a while they dispersed, one to the east and the others to the west/south west.

There were 9 Goldeneye and 4 Red-breasted Mergansers in the channel and as I wandered through the dunes I noticed several Song Thrushes in places I'd not seen them last time.  One of them was on the seaward side away from cover and I suspect they were immigrants like the Fieldfares earlier.

A Rough-legged Buzzard showed nicely over the dunes and a short while I spotted it again while a second Rough-legged Buzzard was visible over the fresh marsh.  During the course of the morning I got a few more views of one or both birds, including a nice close view over the dunes at one point.

From the east end of the dunes a flock of Common Scoters was visible on the sea but the first bird I looked at was the Velvet Scoter, a nice drake.  Looking inland towards Holkham I found the largest flock of White-fronted Geese I've seen so far this winter - at least 110 birds but quite possibly many more as part of the flock was out of view.  Also 4 Bullfinches round here again.

As I returned a Snow Bunting flew over the boardwalk.  A Ruff flew over the grazing marsh where 4 White-fronted Geese were among the Pink-feet.  I heard Bearded Tits, then saw two flying from the dyke towards the reedy pool.  As I approached the staithe I heard more Bearded Tits - two males were in the reeds on the footpath side of the dyke further up towards the staithe than I've ever seen them before.  They were keeping low but the reeds were so thin here they were in view, so I dropped down the bank to photograph them.  Tricky, but here are my best shots.

Bearded Tit, Burnham Overy, 17th January

When I got back to the car park I could see Red Kites again, over the saltmarsh between Gun Hill and Burnham Norton, but seemingly drifting towards Gun Hill - back in for roost already?

Red Kite, Burnham Overy, 17th January

On the way back inland I saw yet another Red Kite between South Creake and Sculthorpe before hitting my inland patch.  There has been a clear influx of ducks since my last visit including 9 Shelduck and at least 30 Teal on one lake at Bittering.  Elsewhere on the patch Rawhall Gravel Pits had another 5 Shelducks, along with a Ruddy Shelduck which was presumably the colour-ringed bird that's been in the area for a while, though the one leg I could see seemed bare.  There was an unringed bird with it a year or two ago - might possibly have been that bird back again?

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