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

WHITLINGHAM: City Pochard & showy Water Rail

23rd February 2013

There is only so much time you can spend at home waiting for the Vatican to reply to your job application, so I gave up and headed down to Whitlingham. The car had given up the ghost last weekend, so I walked along the river, and was rewarded with a drake Pochard, looking out of place in the river basin just north of the Lady Julian Bridge.

Pochard with Norwich castle in the background

Having walked along the edge of the Little Broad I stopped and scanned, and a Water Rail ran out in front of me. It didn't go too far, so I moved and took up a position a bit further along, and was rewarded with cracking views as it walked along the opposite side of the ditch. 

The first time I have managed to photograph Water Rail here

Further along I spotted a Kingfisher perched in an Alder, although it soon flew off as some people walked past. I had a good scan of the broad, hoping that the cold weather (it was snowing at this point!) would have brought in some more wildfowl, but in fact it was quieter than usual. The best bird seen in the second half of the visit was a Great Black-backed Gull, which ominously appeared to have blood on part of its beak. GBBGs aren't particularly common here, but I soon saw another, this time with the gull flock across the river on Thorpe Broad. There were more ducks here (although similar numbers to my previous visit, so not accounting for the 'missing' Whitlingham birds). On my way home I saw a Goldcrest in the hedge near Trowse Meadow, only a couple of feet away.

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