The Whitlingham Bird Report for 2016 is now available to download here.

The previous reports are also availble: 2015 here,
2014 report here and the 2013 report here. Thanks to everyone who has contributed sightings, information and photos to these reports.

You may also be interested in Chris Durdin's Thorpe Marsh Wildlife Report for 2016, which is available

WHITLINGHAM: A probable hybrid and a nice woodland walk

15th January 2012

So far its been quite slow going at Whitlingham. I noticed an odd-looking female Pochard, which had a uniformly dark head, clearly marked white patches alongside the base of the bill (like some female Tufted Ducks) and a seemingly thicker or differently shaped bill. It could well be a female Pochard x Tufted Duck hybrid, hopefully I can get some better pictures to help confirm this. Well hopefully I can find a Smew or something interesting, but you know what I mean, a hybrid is better than nothing.

With the wildfowl looking similar to the past couple of weeks I decided to head into the woods for a change. This paid immediate dividends when I found a Stoat rummaging around in the leaf litter. Further round I had to move off the path to allow a pack of Nordic walkers* through. Most of them were grateful, although one of the last ones muttered something about there being a murder in the woods, a reference to the bird-themed episode of Midsomer Murders broadcast last week, were two twitchers were killed in a wood**. Despite their ski-poles, it appeared they hadn't been up the steep steps as there was plenty of wildlife about. A while spent watching a mixed tit flock paid off with close views of a Nuthatch, whilst further round a Fox ran off through the undergrowth and I got neck-ache checking through a flock of Goldcrests.

* Nordic walkers are people that walk around with two ski poles.  I think the original idea was that it was practice for skiing, but now it seems to be a fitness activity in its own right.
** As you'd expect this was straight out of the annals of birding stereotypes, and centred around the stringing of a Blue-crested Hoopoe (sic).

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