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.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Ruddy Shelduck 4: all other ducks 1

I was sat in my study on Thursday when I heard what sounded like a Ruddy Shelduck calling - I looked out and saw what looked like a Ruddy Shelduck flying away.  Now I can't be sure that it wasn't an escaped South African (Cape) Shelduck as they sound quite similar and I didn't see its head clearly, nor can I be sure it wasn't a hybrid between the two, but assuming it and the previous ones were Ruddy Shelducks then that's the fourth time I've seen one here.  Each time they have been following a similar line, albeit not always in the same direction, and now I'm quite convinced there must be someone nearby who keeps one or more free-flying birds.  To put it in context, in the 2.5 years I've lived here I think I've only seen ducks on 5 occasions.  One was probably a Mallard (Gadwall not ruled out) and the other four were Ruddy Shelducks.  I've heard Mallards 2-3 other times, but this isn't exactly a good site for ducks!

The highlight of recent local birding was a Peregrine at Bittering on Friday.  I've been putting bird food out but although I see a few birds visiting the table from time to time it doesn't seem to be going down very fast.  Then this week the sunflower seeds suddenly started disappearing much more rapidly.  On Friday I found out why...

Brown Rat, North Elmham, 3rd March

Yesterday I met up with the usual monthly group at Strumpshaw.  We weren't sure if rain would scupper the morning but although we spent the first hour or so in the shelter of reception hide it did ease of before too long.  Initially there wasn't a lot to look at from Reception hide although we heard Bearded Tit, 2 Water Rails and 2 Cetti's Warblers

Wren, Strumpshaw Fen, 4th March

Eventually the rain stopped and we had a walk through the woods where a few Siskins were in the tree tops and on down the lane to Buckenham.  We saw 2-3 Chinese Water Deer along here before continuing on to the river where we added a nice Peregrine sat on a gate post and 2 Stonechats.  We met a couple who'd seen a couple of Brent Geese beyond the mill and sure enough when we got there I located 2 Dark-bellied Brent Geese.  There were 12 Ruff on the marsh and lots of Golden Plover - I counted 2955 Golden Plover in one flock I photographed but I think there may have been more than that later on.

As we walked back through the woods we saw Great Spotted Woodpecker and 2-3 Marsh Tits.  Back in Reception Hide the Jack Snipe was on view, or more accurately a bit of the Jack Snipe was on view.  It never came into full view, at least not for long enough to get the group on it properly, but at least we could all see its distinctive bobbing action.  A Kingfisher flew across and landed in the reeeds for a while before disappearing again.  We stuck around for a while and were rewarded with a fine adult male Hen Harrier flying across in front of us.

Kingfisher, Strumpshaw Fen, 4th March

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