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NORTH SUFFOLK: Blue-winged Teal

7th June 2016

I seldom twitch birds outside of Norfolk these days, but when a drake Blue-winged Teal was found at Carlton Marshes near Lowestoft on Monday I was tempted. I have a fondness for ducks, and had previously attempted but failed to see a Blue-winged Teal at the Ouse Washes with Jim. In the past ten years there had only been a couple of accepted records in Norfolk, both one-day birds at Cley and Holme. This bird was less than 1km from the county border, so it almost counts. With all this in mind Cathy & I headed off to Carlton Marshes after work on Tuesday.

I'd only visited the reserve once before, and wasn't exactly sure where the bird was. It was being reported on the scrape, but as a relatively recent feature this wasn't marked on the site map. After a tentative walk out towards the eastern path I decided to stick to the main track, and where this track met the raised bank we saw a couple of birders. They were watching the Blue-winged Teal, albeit distantly, and kindly got us on the bird. It was feeding in a rushy corner of the pool, along with several Eurasian Teal. The distance and the propensity of the bird for keeping its head down meant my attempts at digiscoping a record shot failed.

After a while the Blue-winged Teal moved out of sight, so we headed back, taking in the Swifts and hirundines flying low over the path. Small China-mark moths fluttered low over the ditches either side of the path.


  1. I remember that trip well James. I actually tried again there a year or two later(on route, sort of, to a stag)for presumably the same bird, and dipped again! Glad we can both say it's on our list!

    1. Yes, it's always nice to finally see a species that I've missed. Collared Pratincole and Norfolk Golden Oriole are two more I want to get back at some point.