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, 21 January 2017

Hawfinch mania

I started off at East Wretham Heath this morning where 4 sleeping swans grabbed my attention.  With necks wound in and bills not showing, and nothing alongside to judge size by I'm not sure why I knew they were Bewick's Swans, but somehow I did.  I guess Mutes would have had longer tails but there must have been something else?

Bewick's Swans, East WrethaTurns m Heath, 21st January

Eventually they woke up and my instict proved correct.

Bewick's Swans, East Wretham Heath, 21st January

Turns out they've been there since December.  This Mute Swan didn't have much time for them though.

Mute and Bewick's Swans, East Wretham Heath, 21st January

Other birds here included at least 3 Lesser Redpolls and 2 Green Woodpeckers.  I was planning to spend some time at Thetford but on hearing that there weren't many gulls showing there I decided to walk on through Croxton Heath to Fowlmere and Devil's Punchbowl.  I've never done this walk before and probably won't rush to do it again - a lot of miles trudged for little reward.  A few more birds around Fowlmere and Devil's Punchbowl like Nuthatch and Treecreepers but the walk between there and East Wretham was uneventful in both directions taking different tracks.

Back at East Wretham Heath a Stoat was no doubt enjoying the abundance of Rabbits. A pair of Bramblings perched up for a bit before heading off when I tried to take their picture.

Bramblings, East Wretham Heath, 21st January

Eventually I did make it to Thetford where the Glaucous Gull appeared as I had my lunch.  Also an adult Yellow-legged Gull there.

Glauous Gull, Thetford, 21st January

Next I headed to Lynford where I planned to have just a quick look at Lynford Water before heading down to the Hawfinches.  I wasn't particularly bothered about seeing the Great White Egret but when I glimpsed a large-looking egret flying behind the trees at the east end and dropping in to the reedy area there I couldn't leave it without finding out whether it was it or not.  I walked all the way up as far as the bridge and back down along the top but couldn't relocate it so I'm still none the wiser (though I'm pretty sure it was).  There were a couple of drake Goosanders in the reedy area, barely visible.  A couple of Green Woodpeckers, a pair of Marsh Tits and Nuthatch also present round here, along with 20+ Siskins.

Eventually I got down to the paddocks where I had already missed the first arriving Hawfinches.  But as I stood there with PD and AB I notched up an incredible 49 Hawfinches.  With the birds they'd seen before I arrived plus a few I missed while I was there they managed 65 I think, fewer than yesterday which was itself down on the day before when I think they said they had 83 (don't quote me on that - low 80s anyway).  Many of the birds spent some time in the tops of the trees giving great views, if a little distant for photography.  A single Crossbill and later 3 Crossbills flew over and stuff like Marsh Tit, Green Woodpecker, Bullfinch down here too.

I had one final look at Lynford Water as it got dark - a couple of Little Egrets dropped in and the 2 Goosanders flew down the water in the fading light.

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