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.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Lazy day birding mainly from the car

I headed up to the coast a bit late, getting Christmas shopping out of the way in Holt before 9.00 am.  I'd been planning to look at Brent Geese, especially hoping to see the Pale-bellied hybrid family, but it was a sunny day, and sunny days are the worst for looking at Brent Geese.  Subtly different shades of black are lost in bright sunshine, so I decided to leave that for another day.  At Salthouse I had a look for the white-headed Wigeon that Dave had seen in early November.  Easily located in exactly the same place as I'd seen it in at least two of the previous three winters.  And comparing photos with the previous years it clearly is the same returning bird, which of course means it can't be a first-winter male as I had previously assumed.  I think it's an intersex - have a look at this blog post to see why.

presumed intersex Wigeon, Salthouse, 23rd December

Some normal Wigeon there too:

Wigeon, Salthouse, 23rd December

Coot, Salthouse, 23rd December

Next stop Blakeney where the guy who owns the duckpond kindly invited me in to have a look round.

There were 2 Stonechat by the seawall north of the quay.

Stonechats, Blakeney, 23rd December

Reed Bunting, Blakeney, 23rd December

I couldn't find the Twite in the usual place, or the Lapland Bunting, but did get some Bearded Tits on the way back - at least 4, probably a few more.  Photographing them was nigh on impossible in the wind - surprised I managed even this:

Bearded Tit, Blakeney, 23rd December

This Shag was showing well at Wells Quay.

Shag, Wells, 23rd December

A Red Kite was over the estuary and later 2-3 Red Kites flew west over Holkham Pines.  I was going to have another look at the Red-rumped Swallow but it was further away than it had been yesterday so I didn't bother joining the crowd.  I did stop further up to see the Great White Egret though - it was below the trees where I'd seen a large-looking white egret drop into on Saturday - I'd been a long way off at Burnham Overy and only saw it for a nano-second so couldn't be 100% but I was expecting someone else would find it during the course of the week.

After a bit of driving around to find the Pink-footed Geese (which I failed to do) I ended up at Brancaster Staithe so popped in to see the Red-necked Grebe.  Thought with it being sunny I might get better photos, but alas it was miles off today.

Finally another Red Kite across the road as I came out of the fish & chip shop at Burnham Market.

Not sure if these were wild birds taking advantage of the provision of food at Blakeney or if they belonged in the collection...

Tufted Duck, Blakeney Collection, 23rd December

Shoveler, Blakeney Collection, 23rd December

These ones certainly weren't wild!

captive Smew, Blakeney Collection, 23rd December

captive Red-breasted Goose, Blakeney Collection, 23rd December

captive Cinnamon Teals, Blakeney Collection, 23rd December

captive Blue-winged Teal, Blakeney Collection, 23rd December

The Blue-winged Teal's mate looked purer than it did last time!  Pretty sure it must be the same bird but strange how different views give a different impression.  Last time it looked so spatulate-billed and pale-billed that I figured it must have been a Blue-winged Teal x Shoveler hybrid but this time it wasn't so clear.

captive Blue-winged Teal or hybrid, Blakeney Collection, 23rd December

The backcrossed Mallard x Pintail hybrid has matured a bit now - lost its immature feathers on the flanks etc. and grown its tail a bit.  The long centrail tail feathers (actually upper tail-coverts I believe) are still angled up away from the tail though, and widely separated, and of course the breast colour is the more obvious clue to Mallard involvement.

captive Mallard x Pintail hybrid backcrossed with Pintail, Blakeney Collection, 23rd December

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