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January 11th

I was ill over the weekend. Call it what you will; 'man flu', the common cold, the lurgi, I had an extremely nasty dose of the viral kind and other than taking the dog for short walks and riding shotgun "in case the weather gets really bad" to Norwich with my better half, I stayed indoors. It's a shame too, for I took a phone call whilst in Norwich informing me of a party of 12 - 13 Brent Geese of the race hrota which had decided to drop in to a field at Cart Gap. Pale-bellied Brents are quite a scarcity in Norfolk and had I been at home I daresay I would have struggled out to have a look at them, but a quick search from the car on our return home failed to find them. We usually see Dark-bellied Brents in the southern North Sea, but the population of Pale-bellies that breeds on Svalbard winters almost entirely in Denmark, and that is the likely origin of these birds, doubtless shifting to the south-west due to the harsh weather conditions.

I did manage to see Woodcocks each day as I walked Ossie, four birds on Sunday morning being the peak count, and Fieldfares made a return with 80 or so frequenting the meadows close to home, seen from the garden. I managed to add Sparrowhawk to the Happisburgh 2010 list as well. The only other sighting worthy of mention came as we were approaching Wroxham on the return from Norwich when a reasonably dark looking Common Buzzard appeared, circling low over the belt of pines to the north of the A1151. It wasn't totally unexpected as I have seen Buzzard here before.

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