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

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

WHITLINGHAM: Last visit of the year

30th December 2012

A last visit to Whitlingham of the year, hoping for the one new species that would break my year record. It was rather busy, at times feeling like I was in a rather large queue snaking around the broad. the duck highlights were 19 Wigeon on the Great Broad, a decent count here. A few Siskins flew over, and that was that really. I went along the Lime tree avenue to the farmland at the top to look for Yellowhammer (my top blocker here now according to BUBO) or Red-legged Partridge. I saw neither, but did get good views of a Green Woodpecker on the meadows. So there we go, 110 species, ten of which were site ticks, represents a very good year. I am now putting the finishing touches to my inaugural Whitlingham Bird Report( in lieu of a big summary post), so look forward to that early in the new year.

Merry Christmas y'all

24th December 2012

Merry Christmas to everyone who reads this blog!

As the year nears its end I would also like to thank everyone who has contributed to my enjoyment this year, be it giving or offering lifts, reporting birds, commenting on my posts, sending me photos or just saying hello when I've been out. It is all very much appreciated.

WHITLINGHAM: Trowse Woods fungus foray

22nd December 2012

It rained pretty much all day, but luckily I wasn't off to Whitlingham proper. Today was the last foray of the year for the Norfolk Fungus Study Group, and handily it was at Trowse Woods. Despite it being mid-winter, there hadn't been a frost recently so we were hopeful of a decent haul. With a combination of thorough searching, local knowledge and much greater identification skills than mine we managed well over 50 species. The pick of the day was probably Ganoderma pfeifferi (sometimes called the Beeswax Bracket because its pores exude a waxy substance) at its only known Norfolk site. Alex also noticed a rare form of Male Fern with crested frond ends. Afterwards we called into the White Horse in Trowse for a drink.

 'Crested' Male Fern
Beeswax Bracket (notice the yellow wax coming from the pores)

THORPE BROAD: Slavonian Grebe

15th December 2012

I hadn't been home that long after returning from Whitlingham when I looked at BirdForum and noticed that Steve had found a Slavonian Grebe at Thorpe. Slavonian Grebe was the only one of the five commoner grebe species that I hadn't seen locally, so I set off hoping that it was still around. Luckily it was, and showed nicely, swimming along the southern shore of Thorpe Broad. This was my 110th patch bird of the year, equalling my best tally from 2010. Will I manage a record-beating 111th bird in the final two weeks of the year? Stay tuned...

WHITLINGHAM: Less ducks, more elves

15th December 2012

Was I the only person today who had to pause their wildfowl count to wait for Santa to go past on a solar boat? Probably.

Starting near the Little Broad I saw a couple of Water Rails, which ran off into the bramble scrub. There wasn't much around at the west end of the broad, so I continued to the conservation area. The Shoveler and Wigeon had departed, and there had been a slight reduction in Gadwall, Pochard and Tufted Ducks. Disappointingly there was no sign of the Ring-necked Duck so I couldn't improve on my record shots from last week, but at least several photographers did manage to get some good shots in the week. I scanned across to Thorpe, where there were lots of ducks, but not all visible from my vantage point. Back along the south shore of the Great Broad and I was surprised to see that the Common Scoter was still there, a week on from its arrival last Sunday.

WHITLINGHAM: Ring-necked Duck & Common Scoter

9th December 2012

With the weather getting cold over the past week I headed to Whitlingham to look for newly arrived wildfowl. There had been an increase in the numbers of Tufted Ducks, Pochard and Gadwall, and four Shovelers were new. Near the island loads of Teal were busily swimming around, as were three Wigeon. Whilst trying to count the Tufted Ducks I was drawn to a female duck with a white area at the bill base and a clear white streak across the bill. A pale eye-ring was just visible, and the paler area around the ear-coverts gave it a slight capped appearance. I recognised it as a female Ring-necked Duck, presumably the returning Broadland bird that was first seen at Whitlingham in 2008. It was swimming around near the cormorant posts just east of the island. These photos don't really due it justice, mostly because they're rubbish.

I power-walked around to the north shore of the broad to try and get a closer look, but failed to do so. Looking south the light silhouetted many of the birds, and a large part of the flock was obscured from view by the smaller islands. Walking back around to the south shore I scanned again trying to find the Ring-necked Duck but this time I couldn't find it. I did however find a female-type Common Scoter, another self-found duck tick here.


With the year drawing to a close, I am currently compiling a bird report for the Whitlingham area for 2012. This will mainly be composed of my own sightings, but to make it as complete as possible I would welcome any interesting sightings that others have made. Anyone who sends in any sightings will of course be included in the acknowledgements at the end of the report

Of particular interest would be:

  • Scarce species
  • High counts
  • Particularly early or late records of migrants
  • Any wing-tagged/ringed/neck-collared birds
In addition, there are several relatively common or annual species, or species seen flying towards Whitlingham, that I haven't seen or heard of this year, notably:
  • Bewick's Swan (now reported)
  • Osprey (now reported)
  • Red-legged Partridge
  • Woodcock
  • Jack Snipe
  • Whimbrel
  • Tawny Owl
Any reports can be emailed to me (address is on the right hand side of the blog), posted in the comments or sent to me via BirdForum. The completed report will be available to download for anyone who is interested early in January.