Tuesday, 22 November 2011

In search of Geese

Our latest RSPB trip was trip to Norfolk with the aim of catching up with some of the Geese that spend the winter on our shores.
We had planned to start off in the Yare Valley, but for some reason the regular flock of Taiga Bean Geese have failed to turn up there this year, so it was straight to Lady Anne's Drive at Holkham. This was probably a good decision as the whole of Norfolk seemed to be swathed in dense fog, which luckily cleared about a mile away from the coast.
On arrival small numbers of Pinkfeet were gathered alongside the drive and a few  Greylags and Egyptian Geese could be seen in the nearby fields.
Pinkfooted Geese

We then took a walk down to the beach where up to ten Little Gulls flew offshore. On the sea 4 Red-breasted Mergansers  3 Slavonian Grebes and a Red-throated Diver were the highlights along with numerous Gannets.
A wander through the sand dunes found an impressive flock of around 60 Snow Buntings and surprisingly 5 Red-legged Partridges.                                                                                                    
It was then back to the Pinewood where  the usual Coal Tits, Treecreeper and Jays were seen. The duckpond held at least a dozen Little Grebes and a reasonable flock of Wigeon.,  From the Washington Hide more Pinkfeet and a few Curlew wandered the field. A couple of Marsh Harriers flew over and a Buzzard that sat on the hedgerow proved not to be one of the  Rough-legged type that have been around recently.                                                                                                         

We then moved on to nearby Friary Hills at Blakeney Freshmarsh. Two Barn Owls hunting over the marsh were among the first birds we spotted. There were more geese, this time a large flock of Brents and in a more distant field around 30 Whitefronts, 20 Barnacles and a few Canadas. Seven species of Geese for the day not bad at  all !                                                                                               
There had been a Cattle Egret at this site for several weeks, but this was the day it decided to go missing. So although we saw some great birds, the two 'rares' managed to get away. 

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