Water Rails and Kingfishers......
The odour of Fox was very apparent, along the path to Ormesby Little Broad at Filby (3rd), but what was not apparent was the Goosander reported on the broad earlier, possibly due to the ongoing gun fire!
Nevertheless, at least 3 Water Rails frequented the dykes behind the viewing platform, at times revealing their presence by their ‘squeals’ and a Coal Tit was in the Alders.
The broad was only partly iced and at least 8 Great Crested Grebes were present along with 10+ Tufted Duck, a pair of Goldeneye and 3 Shoveler briefly, whilst the Coot made their presence known to each other in no uncertain terms!
A Common Buzzard flew over the broad and a Kingfisher flew across the water towards the far bank, with another (or the same) perching in the Alders above the dyke near the car park. A brief look from the road at Ormesby Little Broad and across to Filby Broad did not really find too much more of note.
On to Rollesby, where Great Crested Grebes were once again present as were at least 50 Shoveler, which were forming closely packed rafts and feeding in concentrated areas. This feeding behaviour would appear to be the duck all feeding where the most accessible food was and not a co-operative facilitation.
Tufted Duck were also here as were 8 Pochard, predominately drakes and a single duck Goldeneye were seen.
A look across to Ormesby Broad found more Tufted Duck and Great Crested Grebes and generally this broad had more coverage of ice than Rollesby Broad.
Snowy path to the broad
Water Rail Kingfisher-across the frozen water
Shovler feeding concentration
Who's a hansome drake then......
The three ‘sawbills’ (Smew, Goosander, Red-breasted Merganser), which are seen in the UK (generally in winter) are all very striking ducks and after a drake Red-breasted Merganser had been present for several days on Oulton Broad, it was time to pay a visit there (5th).
Parking outside the Wherry PH, the merganser was soon located, but the two Smew that had been there were nowhere to be seen.
The merganser did a ‘swim-past’ but then moved out into the middle of the water, but after several minutes, then began swimming in the general direction of the Yacht station. In an effort to intercept the merganser, I set off on foot around the broad but found no sign of the bird, which appeared to have disappeared!
A Pied Wagtail landed on a lichen-rich piece of wood at the side of the broad and was duly photographed, as was a sizeable ball of Mistletoe in a tree near the yacht station. Six Great Crested Grebes were on the broad and several Turnstones were searching for food on the water-logged grass, before walking out along the jetty.
With no sign of any sawbills of any description, a walk back alongside the broad was halted when Phil Jackson told me the merganser was diving around the moored boats. Sure enough, the merganser re-emerged from its search for food a few metres away and continued to dive for food for several minutes, without any visible success before swimming towards the eastern end and then back in front of the Wherry car park.
By now mist had gradually reduced visibility, but a visit to Ness Point ensued nevertheless, where a single Purple Sandpiper was seen at the end of the ‘concrete peninsular.
Calling in at Gorleston Seafront on the way back found three Mediterranean Gulls, with Black-headed and a Common Gull on the grass, but apart from a few Cormorants flying over there was not much else of note, especially as the visibility had deteriorated further!
Drake Red-breasted Merganser