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Sunday, 12 February 2012

The thaw sets in (eventually)

At Oulton Broad, there was a smallish pool by the yacht club which was full of duck including c50 Tufted Duck. I saw Rob Wil by pets corner and the best bird here was the handsome male Wood Duck feeding on food on the path ahead of us. It was of course completely iced over here too.
From the railway bridge, I could see little on Lake Lothing but by the shore side, 61 Dunlin huddled together with 1 Grey Plover, which promptly took to flight when some dog walkers walked by.
Visiting a very icy Leathes Ham, this morning, I visited the pool to the north of the area where an assotment of duck some 31 Pintail (mostly male with 7 females), Gadwall, Wigeon, Tufted Duck were seen in the water and asleep on the ice and including the weird hybrid bird (Tufted X Fudge Duck?) at the back. The redhead Smew was still active swimming at the back, left and right sides and swimming close into the north-west corner again showing well albeit in bad light. She even got up onto the ice on the eaqst side by the edge of the pool and had a quick 40 winks before going back into the water. Amongst the big gulls asleep at the back was the excellent adult Iceland Gull which spent most of its time preening and again mostly back on.
The Iceland Gull stayed quite a while until some stupid teenagers decided to venture out onto the ice. All the Gulls flew including the Iceland.
Big John B, Neville S and Dick W arrived later.
At the Anglian Water Lake opposite Gunton Hall entrance, I counted 131 Gadwall still a good number and 5 Pochard, 5 Wigeon and 30 Tufted Duck, plus 3 Mute Swan and 1 Little Grebe.
Whilst I was here I received a tweet from jeremy G saying he had a BN Grebe showing very well from Gorleston Pier.
By now it was getting noticably less chilly with the temperature gage in the car reading 6 degrees celsius.
When I first arrived, I could see Jeremy G and Ricky F looking out over the south side of Gorleston Pier.
The fantastic Black- necked Grebe was swimming close in just 10 meters away on the sea, creeping close I managed to get some great shots 60 metres from the end of the Pier. By this time we were joined by Paul & Jane and Rob Wil. As always a wonderful bird with prominent red eye and a black spot for the pupil, delicate black upturned bill and the body a ball of fluff. This bird then swam west directly towards Gorleston beach, where it swam about 10 metres off shore before heading north to the breakwater and then retracing its route east on the sea along the south end of the Pier again.
Other observers were excitedly watching the bird too. Looking north from the Pier 3 immature Brent Geese swam along the edge of the water here too.
The Black- necked Grebe was now heading to the open sea and a cargo boat and its pilot pushed the Grebe over the border and further out to sea off Yarmouth harbour. A reasonably close Great Crested Grebe in partial summer plumage swam south across the sea off the end of the Pier.
Between 5 and 5.20pm, I walked over to Fallowfields and immediately saw a Woodcock fly west and over the garden airspace, it appeared to settle in Parkhill Hotel grounds.
Another Woodcock flew west and again over the garden and again settled in Parkhill Hotel grounds. A further bird got up near the north- west wall and the fourth Woodcock was seen in a private garden get up and flying towards Parkhill Hotel grounds.
What a great day and nice to see the sun again!


Paul Woolnough said...

Grebes me!

Started day in foggy Norfolk at Rockland Broad with two smew and seven goosanders, water rail and barn owl. Sunny walk back!

Dipped all Suffolk birds - no grey partidges Ellough, no hawfinch at Sotterley. Both trips more in hope than expectation.

Dipped the Beccles little owls (again).

To finish off dipped the black-necked grebe too. The only grebe (except pied-billed!) that I need for Lizardland - unless Benacre Broad is included. (If only...)

In better weather I could have gone to see all five grebes south of Ipswich. This would be Suffolk first.

Saw the five grebes in one day in Norfolk 31 Jan 1998: little, great crested and slavonian grebe Titchwell, black-necked grebe Holkham Lake and red-necked grebe Cley sluice (west of village)

Peter Ransome said...

Hard luck Paul, good start in Norfolk but for once Suffolk let you down.
No surprises in dipping the Hawfinches (!!!) or Grey Partridges both hard birds to get.