NORTH NORFOLK - 1 JAN 10

Post interesting sightings here - note: Do NOT post grid references for breeding birds - thank you.

Moderator: roger dickey

Wandering Tattler
Posts: 134
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 4:57 pm
Location: Beverley, East Yorkshire
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NORTH NORFOLK - 1 JAN 10

Postby Wandering Tattler » Sat Jan 01, 2011 10:53 pm

I visited Thornham and Titchwell today, New Year's Day. I spent 5.5 hours at Thornham and 1 hour at Titchwell.

Highlights included:

Thornham: 1 Northern Harrier, 1 Hen Harrier, 6 Marsh Harrier, 1 Merlin, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Waxwing and 1 Lapland Bunting.

Titchwell: 1 Bittern, 1 R-B Merganser and 5 Pintails on the partially iced pond west of the main path, 1 Whooper Swan (with Mutes near the entrance) and many Siskins by the feeders. I only walked 100 metres down the main track.

The taxonomy of Northern Harrier (aka Marsh Hawk in the USA) is disputed in various publications. Considered by most as the North American subsps of Hen Harrier, by others as a separate species. This species used to breed next to the village of Ralston (BATUS, Alberta, Canada). It bred in the marsh there and hunted the priaire and seasonal wetlands; certainly more attached to marsh when breeding than Hen Harrier in the UK. With recent splits of Eurasian and North American species (eg Three-toed Woodpeckers) I think that there is a potential split here too. The adult and immature plumages are different to those of Hen Harrier and the immature male that has spent several weeks in the Thornham/Titchwell/Burnham/Brancaster area is (a) an extremely rare bird in the UK with only a handful of records (3 of them this winter (2 in Eire, plus the Norfolk bird)) and (b) well worth a look, with its dark brown back, upper wings, head and breast, lightly streaked orangey/buff underparts, contrasting dark secondaries and additional barring on the primary 10. It was much darker than the female Hen Harrier that had hunted the marsh earlier. Thornham appears to be the most faihful site at the moment. You can view photographs of the bird by typing 'Thornham Northern Harrier' into Google images or click here: http://www.google.co.uk/images?hl=en&so ... =&gs_rfai=

If you are considering going to Norfolk next week it may be worth trying to factor some time into seeing the Northern Harrier. If you have the time there is also a Lesser White fronted Goose at Cantley Marshes, Norfolk with the 100+ Taiga Bean Geese at the moment.

Happy birding for 2011!

roger dickey
Posts: 100
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:58 pm
Location: Somerton, Somerset

Northern Harrier

Postby roger dickey » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:10 pm

Thanks Tim,

Certainly from all the photos available that is a very dark bird and a clear contrast with the New Forest Hen Harriers. Worth going to have a look on Saturday!

Roger

Wandering Tattler
Posts: 134
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 4:57 pm
Location: Beverley, East Yorkshire
Contact:

North Norfolk Birds

Postby Wandering Tattler » Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:00 pm

If a week is a long time in politics it can seem like an eternity for birders. Saturday is still a while away but other good birds around North Norfolk today have included an American Wigeon, Ross' Goose and Black Brant at Cley and a Rough-legged Buzzard at Holkham.


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