A busy end to the half term week, which had already gotten off to a good start with the Arctic Redpoll.
On Thursday, I called in at Hardley Flood on route to Suffolk. Always seems to be a good variety of birds on offer here, and today was no exception. c70 Pintail and Shelduck were on the flood, 100's of Teal, a smattering of Wigeon and a few Great-crested Grebe. Not the hoped for Divers and Sawbills, but half decent nonetheless. 8 Curlew dropped onto marshy land on the other side of the river, and a Kingfisher was seen hunting along a dyke. A female Marsh Harrier finished off proceedings nicely.
Back home with the folks, my car was serviced quicker than I expected which allowed me to head to Felixstowe Ferry for a potential British lifer: Red-breasted Goose. Locating the Brent flock harbouring the bird was easy; locating the RBG not so! Took me a while to find it, being slightly smaller and often sat down meant it was easy to miss. Not sure being with a Brent flock as a carrier species adds to the chances of this bird being accepted by the BBRC?
A look under the Orwell Bridge threw up some Curlew, Dunlin, Redshank and common Duck species, but sadly not the Black-necked Grebe which has been present recently. Oh, a nice Stonechat was my first of the year. Lot to answer for, Mr. Stonechat, when it comes to me and birding.
Today, a phonecall from Connor alerted me to the presence of a Two-barred Crossbill at Lynford Arboretum. After some deliberation, I remembered that I really rather liked Crossbill, so picked up the student and blazed a trail into the brecks. Few other birders were about, not all looking for the bird it has to be said! We enjoyed good views of Common Crossbill, Siskin, Marsh Tit and heard Nuthatch- but no special xbill. It has since come to light that there may be 2 birds, one or more present since January 6th but at a site not accessible to birders. I can see the reasons for suppression here, and clearly no-one has the right to see any bird. However, I wonder how many times one or both birds have been feeding unnoticed around the arboretum in the last month, in an area used to dealing with visitors? Still, it was worth a try today and I read up a bit about Crossbill ID!
Finished off at Surlingham CM for the Harrier roost of no Harriers. Little Egret, Barn Owl, Fox and Chinese Water Deer my best bits here. Oh, and what a sky tonight!
Sky over Battisford, near Stowmarket.
It's in there somewhere!
Surlingham this evening.