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Saturday, 2 January 2010

Whitlingham Wonders!

A day of mixed fortunes yet again.
An early morning Green Woodpecker perched up in one of the trees at the back of the garden framed by frosted and dusting of snow landscape was a good start.
On the journey along the Acle Straight just west of the "Cadillac Roadhouse" AKA Stracey Arms about 300 Lapwing and 100 Golden Plover huddled in the field to the north of the road.
A foray into Norfolk was initially spectacularly unsuccessful with the hoped for Ring- necked & Ferruginous Ducks well and truly dipped at the Wroxham Broad. More than a gaggle of Geese, nearer 300 Greylags continually calling and flying close in, a meagre 30 Tufted duck, 10 Pochard, A Jay rooting around in the wood and singleton Redwing & Fieldfare failed to lift the spirits. 
I then visited the Great Broad at Whitlingham Lane and saw just about a who's who of Norfolk/ Suffolk birders. Birder sightings included the ever sharp and helpful boys from Dereham who quickly pointed out a Black- necked Grebe by the posts on the opposite side of the broad. These boys, in my opinion, should be invited onto the Norfolk rarities committee. The Grebe was a super bird in black/ white winter plumage and red eye, but constantly diving.
On the far western side of the broad they also pointed out a redhead Smew seen briefly at the back of the broad near the reeds on the far bank and a smart redhead female Goosander seen more in the middle of the back of the Northern section of the Broad through Ian's scope, cheers Ian!
After they left seeking the Diver, I also picked out a brief sighting of a female Ruddy duck.
I then bumped into Robin C who just seen a Shag but it dived just as I raised my bins and it completely disappeared, this was to be my only dip here. 
Another rare sighting was Morris B accompanied by Roger C who told me they'd seen the Diver earlier by the yacht club end.
Walking over to the southern section of the Broad by the yacht club end, the far section was iced over but another excellent redhead Goosander hugged the reed fringed far bank diving frequently and disappearing for long periods. But the master of this game was the Diver who could not be seen and hadn't been seen for some time. It took me an hour and a half, before I saw the bird. Following up a report from a birder who had just seen it, 10 minutes earlier, on the Northern section of the Broad, I finally, at last, had a brief glimpse of the excellent immature Great Northern Diver.
A large bird with large steely grey upturned bill and obvious scalloping on its back providing proof of its age. 
It was seen at the far northern end diving between a pink buoy and in front of an isolated tree,the last of a stand of trees.
The Diver continued to be elusive showing only occasionally until later (after the sky had clouded over, darkening considerably) I viewed the Great Northern with Andrew H and it showed well in the middle of the Northern section of the broad. behavioural posture noted included a "crouching" very low in the water and on another occasion it caught a couple of fish and its neck was positively bulging with its prey, a fine bird indeed and always nice to see.



Colin Jacobs said...

Great site Peter and always a very good read.

Paul Woolnough said...

The cold weather is pushing good birds onto Whitlingham Great Broad.

I jammed both the fudge duck and ring-necked duck at Wroxham Broad on new years day. Beat some top Norfolk birders to relocate and call the elusive RN Duck then rang RBA.

In 2010 I plan to see as many birds locally as I can. Norfolk and Suffolk. Lowestoft is nearer to me than Titchwell. Do not need black-throated diver for the year as for pacific...

As for diver watching ASDA is very convenient for Lake Lothing. Twenty years ago I worked at the old Co-op factory which was on the same site. River access was poor in those days. Birds would disappear round the corner from the railway bridge and be lost to view!


3 Jan 1720 Does date and time say this? My earlier message was 2 January 17.52 not 09.52 as shown on my laptop. Can you check this please.

Peter Ransome said...

Colin- Glad you like the blog site, thanks for your kind comments, I'm always looking to improve the site so any suggestions for improvements welcome too.
Hope you enjoy today's entry 3/1/10

Paul- Well done on both ducks I dipped them both at Wroxham on the 2nd! Whittlingham Broad is a great place to be at the moment, i was very impressed with the avian visitors on my visit there, yesterday.
You are quite right, Asda has been a real bonus for us birders as it has opened up another viewpoint over Lake Lothing which was denied us until the buit the Supermarket.

Colin Jacobs said...

Lowestoft can be hard work but we are certainly having a Purple Patch. I found a Rough legged Buzzard at Uggeshall today

Peter Ransome said...

Excellent find Colin, well done!