Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Buzzing around Norfolk

After a short break in Suffolk last week we made our way up to North Norfolk for a day before heading home to Dorset. I thought Pink-footed Goose would be a shoe-in for the photo list here but while quite a few were seen they were all too far off to photograph unfortunately, even at the normally reliable Lady Anne's Drive. I would surely have found some closer had I driven around the back lanes but after the long journey from Suffolk I feared a revolting family family revolt had I done so. So it was a stroll on the beach at Holkham followed by cake and coffee at Titchwell instead. En route from Holkham to Thornham (for the Twite) though we did stumble across a nice, close pair of Egyptian Goose. Non-native, but tickable.
Egyptian Goose, near Holkham, Norfolk (#113th species photographed in 2015)
Norfolk is a stronghold of this introduced species
Little Grebe on Holkham Park Lake (#114)
Muntjac Deer near Holkham
Earlier in the week when we were still in Suffolk I also nipped over the border to Norfolk look for a Rough-legged Buzzard which has been wintering on Halvergate Marshes. I had not been to this area before but thanks to some gen from James Lowen I found the right viewpoint. After a couple of hours I had seen nothing more exciting than a Marsh Harrier, and being on a deadline I was considering knocking it on the head when one last scan with the telescope revealed a large hovering raptor in the extreme distance. It dropped out of sight but it was enough to persuade me to stick around a while longer and not long after it re-appeared close enough for a few record shots.
Rough-legged Buzzard, Halvergate Marshes, Norfolk (#115)
Rough-legged Buzzard shows a white band across the tail
This bird caused me a bit of confusion when it flew over shortly afterwards - it was motoring on so not really in typical Buzzard/Rough-leg mode, and with a pale head and much white in the closed tail my initial impression was of Rough-leg...
...but on sharing the photos with more expert birders the conclusion is juvenile Common Buzzard. Note the dark 'comma' in the forewing, compared to the dark carpal patch on the Rough-leg, and the longer winged, more Harrier like appearance of the Rough-leg.
So that's the East Anglian trip wrapped up then: five nights, two Counties, and 21 species added to the photo year-list, including some potentially tricky ones - Rough-legged Buzzard, Waxwing, Hawfinch, Twite - all of which I could easily go the year in Dorset without seeing.

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