Monday, 13 February 2017

Feb 13th Thorpe Marshes

It has been an eventful weekend for my family. My nan had to be rushed to hospital due to a heart attack and so its been quite hard to think about going out bird watching as you can understand. Thankfully she has recovered well, but is still at hospital as a precaution. Mondays are usually my outings with Mum to a reserve somewhere in Norfolk or Suffolk. Today, with things how it is, I decided to go somewhere reasonably close to Norwich for a quick search for a scarce bird instead.

I have been told that there has been a black-necked grebe at Thorpe Marshes that has been hanging about there for over a week now. I have seen a pair of them before while at Spain in 2014 at a salt pan lake surrounded by a flock of flamingos. However, I have never actually seen one in the UK before and so as it was only a few miles from Norwich, I thought it would be mad to miss out on seeing it. Black-necked grebes are mainly winter visitors to the UK from Europe and look like a smallish black and white grebe at this time of year. During the breeding season in spring and summer, they sport a pair of golden yellow ear-tufts. They are also much rounder in shape and especially with the head than their similar looking cousin, the Slavonian grebe.

Black-necked Grebe
Finding the grebe was surprisingly easy once we had a clear view of the whole broad. The only thing is, the bird was a bit distant to photograph as it was diving about at the far side of the broad. It also spent about a minute at a time underwater, meaning that I had very little time to get a shot in before it dived again. On top of that, reed heads and trees kept obscuring my camera's focus too. These were the best I could get of it I'm afraid. Still it was a wonderful bird to watch and its diving antics made a great guessing game for Mum and I to play. It was a game in which we competed in who would see it emerge first. A fun activity that I highly recommend while watching grebes.
 Of course there were other birds here other than the black-necked grebe. Here's what else I saw this morning...
Great Crested Grebe

Tufted Duck
Mute Swans

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