Saturday, 18 February 2012
Just west of Great Yarmouth, I drove today along the A47 and parked at the first layby south of the road and looked across at a group of Swans. At the front of the ploughed field just beyond a meadow I could see (from left to right) 5 Whooper Swans then 2 smaller Bewick's Swans and then another 3 Whooper Swans, 2 sub-adults and i immature, so there were 8 Whooper Swans altogether. They were busy feeding the immature Whooper had brown plumage and the sub- adults had bleached out white instead of the yellow extending triangle on their bills. Next stop, Covehithe church where I counted a flock of 151 lapwing and walking down the path, there was a reasonably confiding immature Brent Goose (dark- bellied variety) feeding at the side of the meadow and the path that transsects. The bird was only 10 metres away and I managed to get a few pics albeit in poor light. The bird was feeding then sat down to have a doze. On Benacre broad itself, I counted 9 Goldeneye (2 males and 7 females) all diving frequently. Up to 4 Little Grebes were seen at the back and west side of the Broad but the hoped for Slav was nowhere to be seen.. I heard a Dunlin-like wader call and I looked up and saw first one and then 2 Sanderling flying low over the Broad and west, this species has become much rarer locally in recent years. A Heron stood at the back with the 180 strong flock of Greylag Geese. A male Marsh Harrier was a surprise (I was expecting a female bird at this time of the year) bird quartering the reeds at the back. Out to sea, around 10 Gannets (9 adults, 1 sub- adult) flew north often at close range. Walking back on the sea, I counted 10 Great Crested Grebe, all singletons doted about plus 5 Red- throated Divers sat on the sea singularly also. 4 Wigeon (2 males and 2 females) seen bobbing up and down on the waves Walking back to Covehithe Chuch, the immature Brent Goose was a little closer to the track, so I took a few more pics albeit in poor light. By the time I drove to Oulton Broad North railway station, the 4 excellent Waxwings were still there, voraciously feeding on crab apples at the side of the south platform, the light was very poor and it started to steadily rain, my cue to leave.