Sunday, 23 December 2012

Richardson's Canada Goose, Norfolk

With a short dry spell forecast for today, we meet at 6am and after 120 miles and two hours we are pulling into the Cley Coastguards Beach car park.
Upon leaving the car the first bird we see is a dead one, In the form of a Shag. It's on the floor of the Coastguards Hut in the car park.
How it got there or how it died is a mystery, but it's a sad sight.
The brief sea watch only produces small flocks of geese and ducks plus a single diver.
From here we head for Kelling, and after taking the public footpath we reach the top of the hill and are looking over Kelling Meadows.

Richardson's Canada Goose

There's a group of 40-50 Canada Geese and lesser numbers of Brent Geese in the second field, amongst them is the target bird. A Richardson's Canada Goose, even from this distance it's quite obviously smaller than the other Canadian Geese, especially when it wanders in front of them.
Keen to get better views we drive round to Salthouse and take the shingle path back towards Kelling. There's already a few birders scoping the geese when we arrive but they are on the opposite side of the field to us. With the scopes trained on the geese the Richardson's is quickly re-found and good views are had.
Returning to the car park we grab a quick coffee from the mobile cafe and take a few photo's of the Turnstones that are feeding on the beach shingle.

Turnstone
Leaving Salthouse we head for Stiffkey, only to re-find the Richardson's Goose has re-located to the field North of the duck pond.
Back in the car, but again we don't get far when Brian spots the Sacred Ibis in a field with a few Mute Swans and more Canada Geese.
As we park the car and cross the road we are just in time to see the Ibis fly across the field and land close to the ditch.

Sacred Ibis

Good scopes views and a couple of distantly poor photos later and we again head off towards Stiffkey. But not before we see a Bittern flying across the tops of the reeds  it drops down and out of sight.
At Stiffkey there's Curlew, Redshank and Little Egrets in good numbers. Then two Ringtail Hen Harriers appear, one flies fast and low in front of us, it turns into the wind, hovers and drops down onto an unfortunate Redshank.

Little Egret

Before leaving we have several more views of ringtail Hen Harriers, and a single Marsh harrier is seen hunting.
Onto Holkham, where there's large numbers of Pink-footed Geese along with smaller numbers of Brent and Greylags. There's no sign of any White-fronted Geese in any of the fields which is disappointing.
On the way home we make a short detour to try for a a sighting of a Golden Pheasant. Reports suggest that sightings from this location have been much scarcer this year, and it's not a surprise when we fail to see any.  

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