Sunday, 25 January 2015

Surf Scoter, Wrabness

With the Surf Scoter still being reported around the Wrabness, Bradfield area, we thought it was time to pay it a visit.
The visit would have been sooner if we had not already bagged the Surf Scoter present at Holkham last year. The Essex/Suffolk bird has now been present since the early part of November and at times been reported as showing well.
Parking up along the main road and taking Shore Lane down to the shoreline we began scoping the area for the Scoter.
The tide was out thus leaving small strips of open water between the narrow spits of land. Good numbers of Goldeneye, Brent Geese, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Avocet, Great Crested Grebe, Curlew and Red Breasted Merganser were present along with a couple of probable Slav Grebes.
An hour of scanning failed to locate the target, with a couple of possible sightings within this time. But the distance and the constant diving made it hard work pinning the bird down.
Having decided to head back to the car and try another scan from Wrabness, it wasn't long before we were pulling into the car park and heading along the path towards the hide.
A couple of familiar faces were already on site a little further along from the hide but had so far failed to spot the bird. Brian joined them while I took up a spot in the hide to start another search.
A short while later a shout went up from Brian to say he had the Scoter in his bins. A quick swivel of the scope and the bird was found.

Dark bird to the left of centre (honestly) 

Although still quite distant, we were able to get some really nice scope views as it swam and dived around marker 5.
Satisfied with the views of the Scoter it was back to the car, but not before adding another year tick in the form of  Bullfinch. Three birds were seen including two very smart looking males.

Before heading home we made a quick stop at Abberton and a scan from Layer Breton causeway.
Plenty of Greylags close in, and then while scanning the water a Bittern came into view as it flew low across the water and dropped into the front of the reeds. It stayed there for a short time before heading further into the reeds and out of view.
Plenty of Snipe were found resting up on a small island, but no Jack Snipe were found among them. Another scan and a pair of Smew were found, A stunning male swimming with a redhead. Soon after another two males were seen. 
A small aprty of White-fronted geese were reported from here, but a scan of every part of both stretches of water and the surrounding fields failed to locate them today.
A nice consolation came in the form of a fly through Kingfisher and great scope views of a low flying Sparrowhawk for another much needed year tick.

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