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, 6 April 2016

Red-necked & Slavonian Grebes in summer finery

On Sunday I couldn't resist heading off to the Broads primarily to see the summer plumaged Red-necked Grebe at Ormesby Little Broad.  I've seen plenty of Red-necked Grebes before of course, but rarely in summer plumage.  Indeed the last time I saw one well in full breeding plumage was over 2 decades ago in 1995 when I saw a displaying pair in Scotland.

I rolled up at Ormesby Little Broad, had a very quick peek from the road before heading down to the viewing platform where most recent reports had come from.  It wasn't there and hadn't been for at least half an hour.  There were 4 Goldeneye, but that wasn't what I came for.  I gave it a while before heading back to the road to view from there.  I picked up the Red-necked Grebe across the water on the left hand side.  It was swimming towards me and in no time it was so close that it had disappeared behind the reeds just in front of me.  It came in and out of view often enough, and views were excellent when it was in view - but the reeds in the way made for difficult photography.  Interesting to see how a dark throat patch within the white cheeks appeared and disappeared as the bird's angle changed.

Red-necked Grebe, Ormesby Little Broad, 3rd April

At Rollesby Broad the Yellow-billed (Speckled) Teal x Marbled Duck hybrid is still present and a Bar-headed Goose was also there.

Yellow-billed Teal x Marbled Duck hybrid, Rollesby Broad, 3rd April

Bar-headed Goose, Rollesby Broad, 3rd April

I moved on to West Somerton from where I walked to Martham Broad.  Another 5 Goldeneye were on the Broad but on my first few scans I couldn't see the Slavonian Grebe.  It was diving a lot and I was just unlucky - it was there, at the back but easy enough to see most of the time.  Another beautiful breeding plumaged (more-or-less) grebe.

Slavonian Grebe, Martham Broad, 3rd April

Great Crested Grebe, Martham Broad, 3rd April

Plenty of Marsh Harriers here including a food-passing pair.

Marsh Harriers, Martham Broad, 3rd April

It was a beautiful sunny evening so I had a wander along the footpath along to the river.  A Willow Warbler was singing at the corner and a bit further on I disturbed a Grass Snake.  As a teenager I used to see Grass Snakes occasionally at Bough Beech Reservoir (Kent) but believe it or not this was my first ever in Norfolk and my first anywhere for 26 years!

Along the road north of West Somerton I paused to look at 2 Cranes.

Cranes, West Somerton - Horsey, 3rd April

I continued up the track through Sea Palling.  Not birding properly as it was late and I didn't have enough time, but thought I'd just go that way to see if I could see any obvious birds like Black Redstarts.  Turned out I could - one Black Redstart anyway.

A quick stop at Wroxham Broad on my way home, an excuse to stop and change out of my boots more than anything as it was starting to get dark and my dinner was going to be on the table soon.  A Common Tern appeared from behind the sailing club and disappeared back down the broad again almost before I'd managed to lift my bins up to my eyes.

On Monday I popped in to the patch on the way home, only for a very brief look.  Highlight was a pair of Avocets at a new site, though whether they remain to breed remains to be seen.  Also Little Ringed Plover displaying.

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