Hearing that Don & Gwen M had found a Ferruginous Duck at Fisher Row/ Oulton Marshes, I decided to visit my old stomping ground today. First stop however was Links road and the ever faithful Iceland Gull was perched on the groynes at 9am, 3 groynes south of the car park.
Although the day was grey and overcast, I decided to walk down the hill by St Michael's Church and take the northern circular route around the reserve. At the riverbank they were still undertaking flood alleviation work with a crane, so the path was diverted just east of the first flood pool. Raising my bins, I could see a group of duck, some 7 Wigeon and at 10am the bird in question; a fine male Ferruginous Duck, which looked in fine fettle, with typical mahogany brown plumage, fully winged, peaked crown, and white undertail rear end. Seeing Ricky in the distance we met up and admired this fine bird. It was fairly shy although viewed from a distance, it would often swim over to the left hand side of the dyke, being partially obscured by vegetation. 2 birders walking up the central western path (intersecting the middle off the reserve) flushed the 7 Wigeon that flew due south. The male Ferruginous Duck swam north along the dyke before flying back to its original spot, before the arrival of Neville S, also walking along the intersecting western path, which then flushed the Fudge duck south and it appeared to fly down onto Horseshoe Point pool. All 3 of us then made our way over there, and sure enough the male Ferruginous Duck (new Lowestoft bird no.1) was seen over the far southern side of the pool but looking straight into the light. With permission, I made my way around the circular loop of the pool (noting 25 excellent Siskin calling that flew into an Alder tree before flying off west) keeping out of the sight of the birds and was able to make my way along the river bank path just up to the cut between the pool and the river. I crouched down and now had the sun (which was now shining brightly!) behind me, but the Ferruginous Duck and the 10 Coot were amongst the vegetation.
A family with 4 dogs off leads approaching the pool from the northerly path, flushed out the birds and the Ferruginous Duck as it swam right out into the open towards me and I was gratefully able to obtain my best shots of the bird, I have never been so grateful to dog walkers with dogs off the lead at this sight. 2 Shelduck briefly alighted onto the pool after the dog walkers had gone.
I could see Rob W, Andrew E and James W in the distance, a fine Water Pipit (new bird for Lowestoft no.2) then flew over low over the pool in a north-easterly direction calling and showing grey upperparts, white supercilia and pale whitish underparts. The lads joined me and we obtained more good view and pics as the bird mainly fed in the south- west corner of the pool. A pale Buzzard flew directly over us head north-west.
Walking back we saw 25 Dunlin on Peto's marsh.
At Ness Point, an impressive collection of flighty waders were seen mainly around the finger area but also one or two of their number (1 Purple Sand and 3 Turnstone to be precise) on the compass rocks too. They flock included 9 Purple Sandpiper, 2 winter plumaged Dunlin and 34 Turnstone (3 Turnstone in Hamilton Dock with the Iceland Gull sitting on the far beach by the SLP yard).
In the garden today, the Coal Tit continues its daily visits to the peanut feeder- except yesterday (since the first sighting last week) plus 3 Collared Doves and 2 Woodies; 2 Jays were in the garden early Saturday (19th February) and on Sunday (2oth February) a female Linnet perched up high in the middle tree and a Wren was active in the garden that morning too. Add to these the daily visits by 4 Long-tailed Tits on the fatballs and add to these are regular birds seen daily; Blue, Great Tits, Chaffinches, Greenfinches, Dunnocks, Robins and Blackbirds.