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

WHITLINGHAM: Windy gullfest

27th November 2011

A friends stag do in London the previous day ensured that I wasn't out much before midday today. I arrived at Whitlingham in gusty winds, which whipped up the water into a serious of small waves. The winds were off the land, minimising the chance of windblown seabirds (although I notice that Graffham had 3 Velvet Scoter this week to keep me hoping), but what was noticeable was the number of gulls on the water, at least 120 Black-headed off the slipway alone. The hybrid LWF x Ross' Goose was present and calling repeatedly (I do have a rubbish video of this which I will try to upload). There was a welcome increase in Tufted Ducks, and a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls (an adult and a 2nd winter) were in a large mixed flock of Lesser Black-backed and Common Gulls.

Looking over at Thorpe Broad the river looked particularly high, and I later found out that there had been some localised flooding at the coast. The conservation area bay was packed with birds for a change, but still nothing scarce (2 Little Grebes, 5 female Pochard and some Teal the best birds). The Little Broad looked like it hadn't been disturbed that morning, with more Tufted Ducks and Gadwall, and a couple of Shoveler for good measure. 12 Siskins were also bombing about the site.

SUFFOLK: Lowestoft Hume's Warbler

20th November 2011

A couple of people had sent me messages during the week suggesting that I should go and see a Hume's Warbler in the middle of Lowestoft. Phrases like "great views" and "you can't miss it" were dangerously bandied about. As it happened Norwich was completely enveloped by fog, so a trip out seemed a good idea, even if it was to Suffolk. Cathy located the alley where the bird had been, which quite frankly looked more likely to host a body than a rare bird. A couple with binoculars confirmed we were in the right place, but the only bird there today was one Blue Tit. Bugger. Luckily all was not lost. Lowestoft is so good for birds, if one leaves, there is always another one just up the high street. So it proved here, and I finally did see a Hume's Warbler, albeit a bit further away than the first bird would have been, feeding merrily in trees behind the Royal Falcon. Why don't we get birds like this in Yarmouth I wondered, oblivious to the fact one had been found in Yarmouth that morning. Having run out of 'foot-in-mouth' moments, we went home.

WHITLINGHAM: Fog, crab legs and a Goldeneye

19th November 2011

As many of you will have guessed from the lack of news from Whitlingham at the weekend, "track the Eider" was not a successful campaign. After being seen drifting past Strumpshaw it was not reported again, presumably re-orientating itself and flying back to the sea. Nevertheless I was at Whitlingham on Saturday morning to have a good look myself. This initially seemed harder than it should have been as fog was still hanging over the broad, but as the sun rose it soon dissipated. There was a strong smell of the sea in the air, surely an omen? No, actually, it was someone's discarded seafood. One of the stranger items of litter to be found on site.

Wildfowl numbers were similar to the previous week, with a slight increase in Tufted Ducks. Are Aythya and Gadwall numbers still low in the broads I wonder? Last weeks Goldeneye was still around to the east of the island. I walked along the river as far as the bypass in case the Eider was still on the river, but saw nothing unusual. A couple of flyover Lesser Redpolls suggest there may be a small flock locally that move around rather than continuing passage. I went into the woods to get a vantage point over Thorpe Marshes, and saw a bit of late fungi, including my first site record of Verdigris Toadstool (pictured below).

Rubbish Goldeneye record shot

Track that Eider!

15th November 2011

So, you find yourself with a week off and don't fancy wandering around Hunstanton on the off chance you find a garden with some buds in? Why not take the big Eider challenge? Ben Lewis originally found a female-type Eider on the river at Buckenham on Sunday, and then yesterday it was seen heading west past Strumpshaw. Continuing along the river, hopefully it will get to Whitlingham (and even more hopefully it will stay there. Unfortunately work prevents me from going each day and checking, but if anyone goes to Surlingham C.M., Brundall, Bramerton, Postwick, Whitlingham Sewage Works or Thorpe & Whitlingham please keep an eye out! Lets get some more sightings on the Map of Duck below.

Other random bird news:
Waxwings have returned to Norwich for the winter, with a small flock around the Hall Road area (thanks to Will from the Birdbeards blog for updates on these).

The Hawk & Owl Trust have put up a new camera on the Cathedral to look at the Peregrines next year. I don't know why they need a new one, maybe its conitnuous rather than shots every two minutes. Anyway, its good that the male is still holding territory around the Cathedral.

Woodfordes have given the NWT a cheque for nearly £2400, raised from sales of its "Once Bittern" beer launched earlier this year.

WHITLINGHAM: A few more ducks and a Goldeneye

12th November 2011

Illness had prevented me from going out last weekend, so I was particularly keen to get to Whitlingham early on and see what wildfowl had arrived. November is one of the best times to find scarce ducks at the C.P, with Ring-necked Duck, Pintail and Red-crested Pochard in previous years. None of those species were present today (ironically its the Pintail I was hoping for most), but there was a range of the expected winter ducks in small numbers - 1 Goldeneye, 2 Shovelers, 5 Pochard, 16 Wigeon and 30+ Teal. A couple of Little Grebes were bobbing around near the Cormorant posts.

Many birds were flying overhead, I noted Redwings, Skylarks and a Lesser Redpoll, but I'm probably missing out on some ticks by not knowing more flight calls. Is there a CD of flight calls made anywhere, or is this going to be a bird-by-bird Xeno Canto job? I didn't see the Siskin flock that was around a couple of weeks ago, but it was quite mobile. Near the Little Broad was a dead Coot. I checked it in case it was ringed (it wasn't) then left it. I sort of felt that I should move the body into the undergrowth or something, but as I couldn't decided why that would be of any benefit I decided against it.