American visitor draws crowds to Cley

A rare trans-Atlantic visitor is drawing the crowds in north Norfolk.

An American wigeon has joined a flock of his commoner Eurasian cousins at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust's (NWT) Cley Marshes reserve.

The duck flew in about three weeks ago and has been causing ripples in the birdwatching world, according to Edward Parnell, NWT spokesman.

'It's been one of the most popular birds this winter on the north Norfolk coast,' said Mr Parnell. 'We probably get 20 or so a year in the UK and Norfolk will possibly get one of those.'

The drake can be identified by the dark green stripe that extends from its eye down to the back of its neck and its creamy-white forehead and crown. Its overall plumage is pinker than its commoner counterparts.


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It had probably got lost on its autumn migration in the States, joined a flock of Eurasian wigeon and was now moving with them. There was also a possibility that it had escaped from a wild fowl collection but this was less likely as it was not ringed and had its full wings, Mr Parnell added.

NWT chiefs were hoping the visitor would hang around for yesterday's World Wetlands Day as an added attraction for those exploring the wildlife in and around areas such as Cley Marshes.

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