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, 28 January 2017

Local birds and a superb Hen Harrier at the coast

I only popped out locally each day from Tuesday to Friday and by and large didn't see much (or anything) to report.  In fact on Wednesday I didn't see anything at all - didn't realise how foggy it was until I got out of the village.

Buzzard, Foxley Wood, 24th January

Thursday was marginally better - the patch now holds at least 35 White-fronted Geese.  Here are 29 of them...

White-fronted Geese, Bittering, 26th January

There were also much larger numbers of wildfowl than usual including at least 328 Teal (they were bunched up so the real number is probably much higher) and maybe 5-600 Wigeon, if not more.  Also heard a Brambling call which I think is the first time I've had one on the patch this year.

Yesterday I returned to Swanton Morley fishing lakes which were mainly frozen over - a handful of wildfowl crammed in to the small unfrozen section of Holkham Lake included 17 Tufted Ducks, 2 Shoveler and a Teal.  Little else to report apart from Treecreeper, Bullfinches and Siskins.  Nearby at Bylaugh Sewage Works the 2 Chiffchaffs continue to feed on the filter beds.

Chiffchaff, Bylaugh, 27th January

Today I headed up to Burnham Overy at dawn.  Among the Pink-feet heading off over the village were 6 Barnacle Geese (another 25 Barnacle Geese were on the freshmarsh a little later).  I disturbed a Kingfisher a couple of times as I walked down the sea wall and there were 7 Goldeneye in the channel.

As I walked through the dunes to Gun Hill a Hen Harrier appeared hunting over Gun Hill and then flying towards me along the dunes.  I enjoyed fantastic views of it and managed a few snaps too.

Hen Harrier, Burnham Overy, 28th January

I briefly heard what sounded like a Long-tailed Tit coming from an isolated privet and then, some time later, I heard it again.  Surely a single Long-tailed Tit wouldn't be lurking in such a bush, unseen, for so long - could it have been something else?  Eventually, but not before quite a wait, I was staggered to see not 1 but 8 Long-tailed Tits emerge from the little bush!  They flew off towards Gun Hill where I later found at least 16 Long-tailed Tits being much more typically vocal and visible.

There were 2 Common Seals on the end of Scolt Head before I turned my attentions to the sea where there were 4 Red-breasted Mergansers and the odd Great Crested Grebe and Red-throated Diver but nothing scarcer.  A couple of Fulmar flew west.

As I walked east through the dunes 3 Red Kites flew through the dunes.  Towards the east end I had another go at the sea, picking up a Slavonian Grebe close in not far away.  Further into Holkham Bay the scoter flock were a bit distant from my vantage point but I managed to pick out at least 2 Velvet Scoters.

Crossing the dunes and looking towards Holkham there were little groups of White-fronted Geese in several places - not sure how many - at least 25 but probably 50 or more with others no doubt hidden.  Also one of the Great White Egrets was on show briefly.

Heading back to the car the goose flocks contained the Black Brant x Dark-bellied Brent Goose hybrid and a Stonechat was feeding on the tideline.

Mallards, Burnham Overy, 28th January

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