Aylmerton Nature Diary

Saturday 31st January

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 Female ‘redhead’ Smew, Felbrigg Lake

I was away in Norwich all day yesterday, so when the news came through of a Smew on the lake at Felbrigg I was gutted! Fortunately the bird, a female ‘redhead’, was still present when I got down there for dawn this morning. Smew are a scarce winter visitor to the UK from the boreal forests of the far north of Europe & Russia – a rare bird in Norfolk and only reported at Felbrigg on a couple of previous occasions. It was in the company of an assortment of other ducks including 77 Gadwall, 29 Tufted Duck & two Goldeneye, on a small unfrozen patch of water on the eastern edge of the lake. However, RBA carried the inevitable message that the bird had departed by mid morning, along with the Goldeneye. There were a couple of Snipe feeding in the margins of Scarrow Beck, and a Buzzard was in the woods towards the Metton road. A Marsh Tit and Nuthatch were at the ‘feeding station’ on the gate at the back of Keeper’s Lodge and in the woods between the Lodge and the Weaver’s Way were four Woodcock and another interesting very pale Buzzard with white upper tail coverts.

Off topic – the inaugural indoor meeting of the newly created North East Norfolk Bird Club, at the village hall on Thursday night, went exceptionally well with 85 people in attendance to hear Moss Taylor’s entertaining and informative talk on ’40 years birding around Sheringham’.

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Marsh Tit on the ‘feeding station’

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Immature male and female Goldeneye, Felbrigg Lake

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