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Saturday, 24 December 2011

Great Christmas Eve birding

Arriving at Ranworth Broad, alarmingly I could see a boat going out to the far side of the Malthouse Broad where the all the birds were. I could see John H peering through his scope and leapt out and John H very kindly allowed me to have a look before the expected disturbance. There were a number of Pochard and Tufted Ducks and amongst them was the excellent female Ring- necked Duck. It was seen amongst the ducks occasionally disappearing down the inlet, but also seen swimming at the back of the flock in the middle and even asleep at times.
The female Ring- necked Duck showed a distinct peak to the middle crown, black and white band at the tip off the bill, Prominent white- eye ring (only viewable through John's scope) and pale area on the face. The flanks were brown being a distinctive lighter brown at the front (head end) and darker near the rear.
We were then joined by regular correspondent Paul W, Phil H and then Dave H and his wife and Baz H. Sharp- eyed Dave picked out the 2 Ferruginous Duck- type hybrids, one a male bird the other a female. They swam left of the green bouys at the very back of the broad. A Kingfisher flew across left and through the tree- lined marsh to our left. Siskins and Fieldfares were heard flying overhead but not seen.

Taking the route through Mill Lane Bradwell, I spied a flock of some 300 Pink- footed geese flying over the Browston/ Belton areea fling west. Taking the "New road" out of Bradwell, I parked in the layby left of the dual road and very carefully made my way across 4 lanes of traffic. I looked though the flock and saw the Ruddy Shelduck amongst some 60 Egyptian Geese. It walked back a few yards and was happy to continue feeding.
Whilst checking out a relatively birdless Lound, 5 Tufted Duck being the only highlight, I received a tweet from Andrew E and within 25 minutes I was looking over Lake Lothing from the railway bridge and way east on Lake Lothing behind the orange bouy was the excellent immature Black- throated Diver. Very brown looking on the head, with a distinct white wedge- shaped patch seen at the rear of the flanks. It spent most of the time feeding, diving
We were joined by Paul W, Paul and Jane and Neville S, it was really good to see everyone today.
The ever sharp Paul spotted a Sparrowhawk, a female bird fly onto the railway line track, just east of the bridge, it flew left and perched on the other track before flying left. I noted the distant Pigeons suddenly fly up and I said the Peregrine Falcon might bee about. Seconds later Andrew E said he had it and looking at the second window down on the right. It was perched on the extreme left tip of the ledge.
It stayed for 10 minutes before it eventually flew off. Meanwhile the Black- throated Diver was a little closer being this side of the oraange buoy. I then spotted a Kingfisher flying left of Lake Lothing and shouted it out. Finally a flock of 4 birds on the water proved to be 4 Shag, the outer 2 were browner immature birds, the inner two when they swam a little close proved to be 2 adult Shags.
meanwhile on Leathes Ham, I spotted around 15 male Pintails up ending and swimming on the water.

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