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Monday, 15 November 2010

Goosander, more Waxwings & a regal King Eider



Today is my birthday, so taking a day off work, I headed out first thing to Oulton Broad to try and see the female Goosander. This was easy as soon as I parked my car I was walking along the path following the edge of the broad when half way to the yacht club, I could see the excellent female Goosander over the far side being watched through binoculars by a yellow fluorescant-coated Badger employee who should have been working! Only joking!
The female Goosander spent most of her time over the far side but one time she swam half way over and then flew towards the yacht club spending a few minutes here before hastily swimming further back to the far side.
Driving along Beccles road just before the junction of Hollow Grove Way, I couldn't fail to see a nice flock of 32 Waxwing perched in a tree, parking in HGW, the flock then flew towards HGW and were in the tall bushes and trees by Daffodil Walk, before some of their number flew back to trees along HGW. They then flew back to the original tree along Beccles road and waiting patiently I was able to snap a few pics (at 2/3 compensation) of the Waxwings as they flew to the closest Rowan tree eating berries from the tree. 
Several remained on the largest tree and flew around in mid air presumably flycatching when one close bird did this I managed to secure a lovely flight shot. Something I'd been after for some time.
Finally a large lorry spooked the flock and they eventually flew towards HGW again.

I decided to try my luck with the King Eider (not seen one before on my birthday!) which was now moulting into very nice 2nd year plumage. First stop Dunwich coastguards no luck. Having seen birders with tripods on Dunwich NNT cliff I decided to go over there.
As is always the case, when I arrived they were packing up. I asked them if they had seen it.
Yes, was the reply, it was with Scoter they said and is a bit distant but It'll be Ok in the telescope.
Try as I might I just couldn't see it or the Scoter. All I could see were flocks of Great Crested Grebes, there must have been around 100 out there.
I went back to the car and one of the "gents" was still there asked me if I had seen it, I said no, he didn't bother to walk the 5 steps necessary to show me, try as I might I just couldn't see it (or the Scoter for that matter) perhaps it had flown off? 
However, I did see 2 female Pintail fly north.
I then picked up a duck far, far south almost at Sizewell, it looked King Eider- like to me with what looked like sails on its back but it was very distant I wasn't totally sure.
Malcolm F came along and said that he too had been on Minsmere beach and struggled to see it recently (he had seen it well earlier up to lunchtime) By this time my bird was just a dot on the horizon and totally indistinguishable.
Malcolm advised me to try Sizewell. I drove down to Sizewell and walking north along the beach just past the rigs, I looked by the tall northern most post (which had Cormorants on it) and there swimming just behind it, just to the north, barely 300 yards out was the fine male King Eider.
The 2nd year King Eider was now looking very handsome indeed, he now sported a pale grey head, extensive orange (bordered by black) at the base of the red bill. It had a black back, white rear flank patch, with the black scapular feathers erect like a triangular sails, and a light chestnut buff belly. It was swimming left and I reached down to get my camera to get a record a shot of it, took my eye off him for a second or too and next time I looked he'd completely disappeared. I assume he had flew off north?
Brucie bonuses at Blythbugh estuary by the A12 included 21 Avocet, a Ruff, 100+ Pintail (with 70 of them being males, plus 30 Shelduck, 12o Redshank and so on. 

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