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

WHITLINGHAM: Week 2 - Red-breasted Goose

8th January 2011
New Year's Day had been a bit bird-light, so my main aim for today was to catch up with some of the commoner stuff I missed then. A night without a sub-zero temperature meant that there was also the outside chance of a Smew or something. As I walked along Whitlingham Lane in the drizzle I racked up Pheasant, Redwing and Jay, whilst 115 Greylags were on the meadows. There were only a couple of Siskin in the Little Broad Alders, but while looking for them I found a Treecreeper. Walking to the east end of the Great Broad, I immediately picked out a Red-breasted Goose with the Mallard! It was clearly an escape, and a rather tame one (it began swimming over to me like it wanted a hug, but its Mute Swan bodyguard were having none of it). Figuring that other local birders might still be interested in seeing it, I texted the news in. I can understand most people not caring, but some can enjoy watching birds regardless of their origins. I thought seeing last years Chilean Flamingos at Cley was rather excellent for example.

Moving on I saw that the bird feeders near the car park had been filled up. A short stakeout and I had seen the Nuthatch and a Marsh Tit, whilst four Brown Rats were eating the spilt seed. I located the missing Siskin flock along the south shore of the Great Broad, mixed in with some Goldfinches and a couple of Lesser Redpolls. No new wildfowl on the broad to speak of, a Little Grebe and some Shoveler the pick of the bunch.
Continuing my trip around the patch I walked through the woods, hearing the third of four unseen Great Spotted Woodpeckers. I looked over onto Thorpe Marshes but there wasn't a Lapwing in sight. I did get to watch a flock of Redwings in the scrub near the river, which is always a pleasure, and a Marsh Tit was calling like a Great Tit. Whitlingham Marsh was rubbish as always, and nothing rare was lurking on the river. Even the sewage works was quiet, just a couple of Jackdaws around the stirring containers. Cathy met me back at the car park to say "aww" at the goose, and that was it for another visit.

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