Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Snowy Whitlingham

Waking up to temperatures of -10C and 15cm of snow, my plan to go to Strumpshaw/Buckenham wasn’t really going to happen, instead after my optician appointment I skidded off to a delightfully quiet Whitlingham. But not before taking a few snowy pictures in the city centre, seeing the Peregrine on the Cathedral and watching a skein of Pink-footed Geese fly high over the Castle.

Trowse Water Meadow was a picture postcard but held nothing, the only birds of note
5 Fieldfare flying over. By the Ski Slope however a found a single Waxwing which then disappeared into nearby gardens. The Little Broad was completely frozen, but the Great Broad was clear of ice. In the trees by the Little Broad car park, a flock of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll also held a Mealy Redpoll, as well as the usual finches and tits. A second small group of Redpoll were very close to the path near the Flint Barn which I tried to photograph before looking through the waterfowl. Duck numbers were surprisingly low, Pochard  c15, Tufted Duck c150, Wigeon 1, Shoveler 1 and none of the rarer grebes, divers or ducks, that the colder weather may have brought.

Walking the south shore i did flush 5 Snipe one of which appeared to be smaller and may well have been a Jack Snipe. There appeared to be more people walking around Thorpe Station Marsh than Whitlingham, and unsurprisingly only a few Tufties and gulls could be seen.  By the sharp bend in the river a Grey Wagtail was on the muddy margins and in the conservation area a drake Goldeneye was the only bird worth  reporting. A Bullfinch was in the riverside brambles and that was about it. Despite a couple of good birds, the walk was relatively unproductive, however the snow covered scenery more than made up for any lack of birds.


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