January 2009
1st: Decided to walk to Sandy lane which runs parallel west of my usual walk Harpers Lane. Good start to year with sighting of male Hen Harrier at 2.45pm, Sparrowhawk low across marshes and a flock of c.30 Fieldfare.

Probably the same male Hen Harrier but photo taken at a later date.

2nd: Walk to Sandy Lane again, were I met up with near neighbour Alan both hoping to see the Hen Harrier but it had not appeared in expected time zone. I had the idea of exploring the walk to Burgh Castle so off we set arriving near dusk. We had sightings of several Marsh Harriers including a nice male and to our delight the male Hen Harrier at 4.10pm. (It is almost certainly the same male still a little brown mottling on back)
3rd: Ranworth Staithe/Malthouse Broad. We found the Broad partly frozen over see photo below, with no sign of the Little Gull seen recently.

A pair of Pied Wagtails were feeding on the staithe - darker male at rear of photo below.

To the east of Malthouse Broad wild swans (Bewick's or Whooper) were arriving in small flocks and family parties and we presumed landing in a hidden and unnamed broad in that area. We made a total of c.200 individuals arriving. This took place around 2pm.
See photos below.


The mystery swan adventure.

Trying to identify the distant wild swans from our photographs proved difficult and calls on small piece of video were not much help. We decided to try for closer views. We parked in the convenient Pilson Green car park then walked north past South Walsham Broad and onto the Fleet Dyke footpath until apparently opposite the hidden broad. Even from the car park I could hear wild swan calls and was hoping they would be visible on the marshes nearby. This proved not to be the case, the calls were coming from the hidden broad. But flocks were flying out and some Bewicks flew over our heads eastwards see photo below.

The hidden broad seems to be in the middle of a large reedbed and Marsh Harriers were much in evidence see photo below.

I noticed movement in the water, an otter with large fish swam past before disappearing onto the opposite bank. Photo below:

An approaching couple also saw the otter and we discussed this and the swans. The man suggested that the Bewick's feed in the Ludham Bridge area, and he had seen c.100 there recently, looking at the map it is obviously no distance for a swan. He also suggested quite a lot of the swans were Mute. He was obviously right, below is a flock of 18 flying up from the hidden broad. Judging from the calls I had assumed most of the swans were wild swans. So how many Bewick's roost in the hidden broad, how many mute, any Whoopers. We were in the area from approx 12pm, swans were leaving all the time, but by the time we left around 2pm the area was fairly quiet, presumably because most of the swans had departed.

(Bewick and Whooper swans are often referred to as wild swans, they are both winter visitors, our resident swans are Mute Swans so called as they have no flight calls)

NOTE: Report for Ludham for 3rd December 175 Bewick's, 7 Whoopers, this goes some way to answering the mystery, but some including Bewick's flew off to the east, Ludham being north.

6th: We had to travel to Norwich in the morning with car registering minus 4 degrees, but still and sunny. So after lunch decided to look for Wild Swans at Ludham Bridge, on the way I stopped to look at a flock of Pinkfoot north of Acle Straight and noticed the Ross's Goose see photo below. (The white blob centre)


Behind the geese a fox was perhaps licking his lips!
At Ludham Bridge there were only a few Wild geese and at a distance. I identified some as Bewicks. Others may already have left to roost. A flock of c.25 Snipe flew in. Although now 3.30pm I decided to go to the Stubbs Mill roost viewpoint. I arrived after Bob had already counted in more than forty Marsh Harriers and a flock of over thirty Cranes. Marsh Harriers increased to over fifty individuals and 4 more Cranes arrived before I left.

A Goldcrest passed through our Bradwell garden

Walk along Breydon Water North Wall from 11.30am. On the way to parking at ASDA (3 hours parking) the car was recording 3 degrees, although Breydon looked colder see photos below:



The photo below shows some of the Redshank which were feeding on the saltings

The Knot in the photo below seemed to prefer the very edge of the mud

Perhaps the highlight of the trip around 12.30pm. a Barn Owl hunting in the area.

And the most surprising sighting, a Peacock Butterfly see photo below.

There were no great numbers of birds present, perhaps they were spread over Breydon and surrounds or more likely given recent cold weather some have moved further south or west.
8th: Walk down lane in thick mist


9th: Walk down lane
10th: Wickhampton Marshes

Looking east from Hardley Flood, large hovering broad winged bird, seen from a fair distance appeared all pale below. Rough-legged Buzzard? Bob keep you eyes open!
13th: Walk from Burgh Castle along Breydon South Wall
15th: Breydon South Wall from Rugby Club approx 11am. to 2.20pm.

Feeding Dunlin c.400 in this photo. At least c.1000 in that area

Closer view of some Dunlin

Dunlin, individual on right with food!

Black-tailed Godwits with smaller Dunlin below

Upper view

Underside view

Bar-tailed Godwits part of a flock of c.55 (compare with Black-tailed Godwits)

Male Hen Harrier with prey (Fieldfare?)

Close up of Hen Harrier with prey

Probably the same Hen Harrier had been disturbed from the above kill on 24.1.09
Can you identify it? - photo by and A&G

17th: Walk down lane,


Little Egret with plume!

23rd January - Amble by the Hamble - Hampshire

Brent Goose


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