I was up at the allotment (and my bird information pager on the dining room table!) when the news came through of a White Stork seen over Cromer and heading for Felbrigg!! By the time I found out and got myself down to the park the bird had, presumably, long since gone. As far as I’m aware there haven’t been any records of this species at Felbrigg (anyone knowing different, please do contact me) but amazingly, there is a record of Black Stork – considerably rarer, back in 1999.
In the aftermath of this excitement, I was standing on the path which crosses the top sluice, looking over the water meadow, when I noticed a brown duck in the distance with a tightly clustered group of baby chicks. Hurray I thought, my first record of breeding Mallard for the year. As the female and her brood of twelve came closer I realised that something wasn’t quite right. This female wasn’t a Mallard, it was more like a Shoveler – but something didn’t look right for that species either. Consensus amongst a group of local birders in the evening was that it was one of those dreaded hybrids! I attach a couple of photos and would be very pleased to receive comments or opinions from anyone as to the true identity of this bird. What is perhaps equally surprising as the event itself is how, at one of the busiest bird-watching times of the year, this bird had previously gone unnoticed. I attached a few photos of the bird in question and her rapidly diminishing brood of twelve: