Friday, 6 January 2012

New Year Gets Underway..........In Norfolk

Great Grey Shrike . Fakenham.

I headed to Norfolk on 1st January  for another look at the Western Sandpiper   , an uneventful journey saw me arrive in Cley at about 7.45am and the year listing begun in earnest , several species were added on my way to the hide and by 8.10 am i had located the Western Sandpiper with a small group of Dunlin , i had the hide to myself for several minutes and enjoyed prolonged views of this small wader . 

From here i headed to Titchwell in the hope of connecting with the Redpoll flock and i was on them almost straight away , now Redpolls are always a bit of an id challenge ( in my opinion ) but i had a really good view of the Coues Arctic Redpoll , pure white rump was very evident and its overall white plumage stood out along side its rather dull companions , i also had at least one Mealy but there may have been more as the flock was constantly on the move and were quite high up in the canopy most of the time . Here is a photo of the bird i saw on Shetland in 2011.

Coues Arctic Redpoll , Shetland 2011.

I added lots of finches to my year list here such as Greenfinch , Goldfinch and Chaffinch plus several Robins put in an appearance , i then headed of to Fakenham for the Grey Grey Shrike and were very fortunate to get some really good scope views,  i noticed the shrike showed alot of white in the wings in flight but the face pattern looks like normal Great Grey Shrike

I enjoyed the shrike for awhile before heading of to my final destination at Ranworth broad for the  female Ring Necked Duck ,  i arrived on site in good time and after a 5 minute walk i was at the visitor center and scanning hundreds of ducks which mainly consisted of Pochard , Tufted Duck , Teal and Wigeon , its was not looking good until a birder who was further to my left picked it out near a fine male Goldeneye , it didn't take me long to get on the bird which is very distinctive .

Female Ring Necked Duck , note the pale crescent on flank .

Ring Necked Duck with Pochard.

The face and beak pattern are very distinctive , white face patches and broad white band on bill with black tip , the head shape has a high peak at the rear of the head which is very noticeable , so not a bad start to the year.