The Whitlingham Bird Report 2020 is available now (click here)

For previous years (2012-2019) see the links on the Whitlingham Bird List page.

Sleeping Ducks in West Norfolk

6th December 2009
Having decided to have a pre-Christmas birdwatch with Gary at the weekend, I was pleased to see that a female Ferruginous Duck had been found on Friday. To add to this, an American Wigeon was found on Saturday, so we set off in the rain for a wildfowl extravaganza. On the way we stopped at Denver Sluice to look for Goosander, but with no luck. I did spot a Barn Owl flying across the channel, which was some consolation. The approach road to Welney held large flocks of Whooper Swans, with some Bewick's mixed in too. We arrived, I coughed up the £6.30 entrance fee (they get you to pay before telling you the whole reserve is flooded too ;-o) and we proceeded to the observation hide, where the guide/hostess/volunteer cheerily told us she had seen the American Wigeon earlier but had no idea where it was now.
After a few false starts, Gary "eyes of a hawk (or hwak, which I originally typed)" White, spotted the American Wigeon about 6 miles across the lagoon, sleeping on the bank. We spent about 30 minutes staring at the side of a sleeping duck, until it indulged us for 30 seconds with it's head up, showing the pale face and green facial stripe. Gary managed to record this feat, and leaving a number of birders to stare at the yank wigeon until it woke up again, we left, rubbing our eyes.
Next stop was Snettisham RSPB and the long walk to the pools. We slipped along the path (Adam's balance being particularly suspect) until we got to Rotary Hide, noting Goldeneye and Little Grebes on the way. A first scan of the bank turned up nothing, but a second scan turned up the female Ferruginous Duck, asleep. Lazy things, ducks. It woke up a few times, stretching its wings and going for a quick swim and walk, enough to note all of the fudgy features (chestnut colour, white vent, white belly patch, white underwing, sloping forehead, longish grey bill and dark eye). A large flock of Greylags held two hybrids (presumable with Canada), both looking like Greylag but with white on the face, unlike the commoner "brown necked Canada" type.
On the way back we cut through via Docking in the hope of catching up with the/a Snow Goose. We did find a pre-roost flock of thousands of Pink-footed Geese, but no rarer stragglers. These were flushed by something behind the field and flew over us, a spectacular sight. We arrived at the Dun Cow as the sun was setting in the hope of getting an owl for our pub list. No such luck, but we did manage Little Grebe, Shoveler, Brent Goose, Lapwing and Pink-footed Goose amongst others, before we left in the dark.

No comments:

Post a comment