Smart Ducks & Unexpected Waxwings

Autumn traditionally brings in a host of new ducks to the county but I have failed to pick up any new ones yet for my Hethersett patch list, so in the hope of welcoming some foreigners I set out for my WEBS site at nearby Marlingford. It was a pleasant afternoon filled with the sound of chatting Jackdaws and the trills and squeaks of roving long-tailed tits. The hedgerows were full of blackbirds and redwings all very jumpy and filling up on ripe berries.


Female blackbird making the most of the Autumn feast.

Eventually a couple of fieldfares few out of some higher bushes to add to the thrush tally. There was an incessant contact call in the background which eventually revealed itself as a great spotted woodpecker high up on the sun bleached skeletal remains of a dead tree. On reaching the lake my target destination there were clearly more winter wildfowl and after a full scan I managed to pick up three smart drake pochards.


Smart Drake Pochard

The pochard were surrounded by dark reptilian forms of cormorants and kept company by coots moorhens mallards and lapwings as well as a few grey herons which dwarfed the other birds hunched in the late afternoon mist. Other ducks out on the lake included growing numbers of winter wigeon and the diminutive teal. Biggest totals of ducks went to the tufted ducks with the best part of fifty birds settling in for the night.

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Another smart male this time Tufted Duck

Yesterday I chanced to be in nearby Bowthorpe when I noticed a couple of birders/photographers lurking around Chapel break road and given the time of year I thought Waxwings. I abandoned my car and was quickly rewarded with a flock of 15 high up in a tree. Waxwings are a bird that needs no airbrushing they only come in ‘perfect’ so it is always a pleasure to see them even if they stay high up in the trees. There are still plenty of their favourite berries about locally so keep your eyes peeled for some unexpected beauty.


Even in a record shot at distance these birds shout special.

Whilst I couldn’t get close enough to do the birds justice here is another to leave you with as we look forward to these and other wild winter wonders to come.


Waxwing Credit: charlie.syme Flickr via Compfight cc


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