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Saturday, 25 February 2012

A feast of birding

An excellent morning's birding today, I had waited all week hoping to try for the Greenland White- front down at North Warren. At North Warren, i parked just past the cottage on the left and seeing 2 birders scoping the Geese, it turned out to be Roy M and Lee W. They were just leaving and Roy kindly showed me where the bird was, the excellent Greenland White- fronted Goose, before he left. But it was difficult, the bird was asleep and it was only when the bird woke up and walked about, showing a very dark brown back and below with thick breast marking on the darker breast, just a sliver of white at the base of the dark tail and most significantly the orange bill with white around the base of the bill. A cracking bird but very difficult to pick out unless it was side on with its head up and almost impossible to pick out if it was walking away from you feeding or asleep. The first one i have ever seen of this form. Scanning through the flock a little later after the birds had moved a little, I picked it out with its dark back and orange bill as it walked right, it was at the back of the flock, just in front of some reeds at the back of the field. A little later, a fine Tundra Bean Goose with short bill, black at the base and orange at the tip seen too. Also with the Whit- fronted Geese were 5 Barnacle Geese. Next stop Minsmere, viewing from Whin Hill, initially not a lot was seen but after careeful scanning the excellent Glossy Ibis was seen distantly in a feild way over to the right just in front of the line of Poplars near eastbridge village. The bird although distant showed its distinctive dark silhouette longish neck and legss and long down curved bill as it consstantly fed in the field. At one point it flew back and behind the Poplars before we picked up again in the same field. Whilst on Island Mere, 4 redhead Smew were seen on the western end and at the southern end another 4 redhead Smew were seen, the original 4 Smew flew to join the others creating an impressive flock of 8 redhead Smew. Someone picked up the excellent Great White Egret walking right along a distant field reed edge the large size, kinked neck and yellow bill were clearly seen despite the range. Several 5 Meadow Pipits were seen in the grass just ahead. Driving out of the Minsmere approach road, a flock of 16 Bewick's Swans seen in the middle of the field reasonably close to the road, I parked up and manageed tto get aa few shots. At Benacre broad, I counted 11 Goldeneye, 1 male and 10 females. A flock of 40 Teal seen too, plus 2 Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher at the beach end edge of the Broad, the Oystercatcher was flushed and it strangely it perched in the middle of the back of the Broad, obviously the water level is low. I finally picked out the excellent Slavonian Grebe which was constantly diving right out in front the hide albeit on the northern half.

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