One of the good things about bird news services is the ability to view records of scarce birds around the country, telling you when a particular species is migrating in numbers. A cursory glance this week showed that it was prime time to catch a migrating Rough-legged Buzzard, and that a mini Waxwing invasion had begun. With these two birds in mind I set off for Whitlingham in the rain, hoping that when it cleared there would be hordes of aforementioned birds soaring above me, possibly with unexplained orchestral music playing from somewhere. Unsurprisingly that never happened. Not a single bird of prey, and the only flocks overhead were small numbers of Redwing, which probably arrived weeks ago but flew over to make me feel better.
Wildfowl counts were tricky because canoeists going up and down the broad were constantly flushing or moving birds, particularly the flighty Tufted Ducks. A male Shoveler and three Little Grebes were of note in the conservation area. Whitlingham Marsh was barren as always, maybe someone should recommend removing all of the vegetation and having a giant wader scrape. Or how about a reedbed? The highlight of the day was my first Whitlingham Coal Tit of the year (long overdue), bringing the list ever closer to my 110 target. Marsh Tit and Kingfisher were the other decent birds of the day, and with more rain falling I gave up and went home.