House Sparrows were heard and seen along the coast road and 3 swans, initially thought to be Bewick’s Swans were later found (from photos) to be a family party of Whooper Swans. No excuses but very tired by this stage and viewing at distance from a very busy coast road made for the initial mistaken ID.
The rest of the journey along the coast road was a ‘wash out’ with people all over the place, a continuous line of traffic (mostly visiting the Horsey seal colony) made finding anything nigh on impossible.
On to Rollesby, where we were thwarted yet again with Rollesby Broad full of people in dinghies! A look across the road to Ormesby Broad added Great Crested Grebe to the avian total, but very little else.
At Ranworth Broad the ‘New Year’s Day walkers were again very much in evidence and the walk along the boardwalk to the broad could have been mistaken for walking up to a play area! Still, a good number of duck were on the broad and Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall, Shoveler (our 70th species of bird) and a Little Grebe were added to the list.
A Wren was heard calling from an otherwise very quiet reedbed and several Siskin were found in the tops of the Alders on the way back to the car.
Next stop was Buckenham Marshes and here Canada Geese, Ruff, 5 Taiga Bean Geese (near the railway line and very difficult to see) and a Common Snipe were seen.
At Breydon a slight miscalculation with the high tide time and the very grey skies and therefore lack of visibility meant we had our ‘work cut out’! However, from the hide; Little Egret, Shelduck, Curlew (80th species of bird), Avocet, Common Redshank and Pintail were seen.
In the last light of the day we ventured to Great Yarmouth seafront, where from the Marina car park several Mediterranean Gulls were seen.
A drive to Halvergate in search of owls was to be to no avail and the showers made sure of that. Nevertheless, a really good day with a total of 84 species of birds and 4 mammals recorded, making a very respectable result.
New Year's Day Nature Watch & A very Happy Wildlife-filled 2019......
New Year’s Day Nature Watch began in the early hours in the morning with two Hedgehogs in the Martham garden; the first species for 2019!
Later in the morning Jason Nichols arrived to collect me for our 1st January species count. Before departing for various local destinations, a Collared Dove was the first avian species of 2019, followed by Grey Lag-Goose, Black-headed Gull, Starling, Jackdaw and Wood Pigeon.
Mallard, Rook and Carrion Crow were seen en-route to the farmland in the Thurne area, where the first of at least 15 Common Buzzards seen throughout the day) was seen. A Pheasant and 9 Cranes were added followed by Blackbird, Kestrel (first of at least 12 seen during the day), Common Gull, Egyptian Goose, Herring Gull and Pink-footed Goose.
At Ludham a Chaffinch was the 20th bird species, followed by Moorhen, Goldfinch, Cormorant, Pied Wagtail, Stock Dove, Blue Tit, Jay, Mute Swan, Marsh Harrier and the second mammal of the day; a Chinese Water Deer. Feral Pigeon, Lesser Black-backed Gull and a Grey Squirrel followed and en-route to Barton Broad Great and Marsh Tit, Red-legged Partridge and Robin were recorded.
At Barton Broad, Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Greenfinch were seen and a Nuthatch was calling from the woodland.
From the edge of the broad, several Goldeneye were our 40th avian species and Coot, Tufted Duck, Grey Heron and a Kingfisher fly-by were seen. A Water Rail called from somewhere nearby and then a real bonus, a Bittern was seen hunting along the edge of the reeds on the far side of the broad. The Long-tailed Duck which had been present for several days was finally found, but there was no sign of the reported Scaup.
A male Sparrowhawk flying along the road as we exited Barton Broad was our 50th avian species and Redwing, Lapwing, Golden Plover and Skylarks were on a field en-route to Walcott.
A Purple Sandpiper feeding on the slipway at Walcott was a good find by Jason and Red-throated Diver, Shag, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Gannet, Great Black-backed Gull, 6 Common Scoter and a couple of Grey Seals (4th species of mammal) made the visit there very worthwhile.
Wigeon at Buckenham
Purple Sandpiper-a good find at Walcott
Martham Hedgehog sightings......
A ‘Small’ Hedgehog was in the garden at Martham at 21.24 (2nd).