Sunday, 23 December 2012

Of unkown origin

Took a drive up to Norfolk today as the weather promised some dry spells. Covered the 120 miles in 2 hours and by 8am we're pulling into the car park at Cley coastguards.
In the coastguards hut we stumbled upon a dead Shag which was not the best start to the day.
We watched as Geese and ducks flew past and a single unidentified Diver before we headed off to Kelling in search of the Richardson's Canada Goose "of unkown origin" . We walked the public footpath from the A149 and scanned Kelling meadow from a distance picking up the group of Canada and Brent Geese.
Amongst them is the Richardson's, a lesser Canada goose smaller than Canada and slightly larger than Brent.
Kelling Meadow
We needed to get closer so took a drive down to Salthouse and walked the shingle bank back to Kelling where we managed to get much closer without disturbance to the birds. We had watched as joggers ran right along the fence line without spooking the birds so knew we could get quite close but we remained mindful of the birds levels of reaction and kept back from the joggers route.
Close enough but not too close!
We could see from this position that the bird was indeed different as well as smaller and we managed to see the black line in the white of the under throat as it fed.
Clearly there will be discussion about the "origin" of this bird.....has it come in with other northern Geese and found the company of these Canada's or is it a feral bird.....if feral where has it been????
The bird had now been seen from the footpath at Kelling and from the beach. We'd walked about a mile to have these two views only to find it again as we parked up at the local pond. Although it remained in a distant field it gave good views again and as we watched it the local Mute Swans took interest in us.
Richardson's Canada Goose (in the fore ground)
So we've nailed our first bird "of unkown origin" and as we're driving back I spot another as the Sacred Ibis is feeding in a field and gives us good views both feeding and in flight. We also see a Bittern fly across the reed beds at Cley  as we watch the Ibis. Again the birds origin is unkown with the most likely explanation being that it's moved on from the feral population in France.
Following on from this we spent a few minutes at Cley car park where we enjoyed a coffee from the coffee van man whilst watching the Turnstones turn a few stones.
We moved on the Stiffkey where we watched two ringtail Hen Harrier and a juvenile Marsh Harrier.
One of the Hen Harriers came in close at pace before hanging in the air and then dropping onto an unfortunate Reshank.

On the way home I stopped at Holkam trying to get the Jim's a White Fronted Goose tick but found only Pink Foot, Brent and Greylag. I made one last run to see if I could get them a year tick as we drove around the Wolferton Triangle looking for Golden Pheasant but they were dissappointed as none came out while we were there.
A quick stop on the way home for Jim to treat his driver to lunch and we're home to watch Chelsea roll Villa over like skittles.

Good day up in Norfolk with two birds we enjoyed regardless of their ORIGINS!
Mute Swan

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