Monday, 31 August 2009


31st August
An extremely frustrating day on the reserve. Began at Island Mere, and spent well over an hour looking for the Juvenile Fudge duck, which I later discovered had been seen earlier in the morning. Not an easy task sifting through eclipse plumage, loafing wildfowl in poor light. 2 Hobby hawking over Whin Hill on the way back made for a nice antidote. A vigil from Bittern hide proved fruitless- where were the birds today?! Almost inevitably, a Red Footed Falcon was seen in this area late afternoon. Having spent most of the day here, this was another bitter pill to swallow!
Back on the reserve, I returned to the visitor centre to discover a Spotted Crake had been seen from the Konik field. Like a pratt, I got excited and dragged my partner half walking- half running, down to the field. No sign. Plenty of people mis-identifying Moorhens as Water Rail and Snipe as Highland Cattle, par for the course at Mins! Again, spent ages waiting and scanning the edges in the hope it may appear. Not reported again all day, although the finder apparently got photos.
Managed a short time in South Hide before heading home, managed to pick out a Curlew Sandpiper from a Dunlin party.
I almost went to Levington Creek today, fancied it might throw up a good wader: Marsh Sandpiper seen early morning. Great. Not my day, but good to know the birds are out there!

Of note from home, 2 Red Underwing resting on the house, and a Badger gave our carload a suprise late saturday night post-pub.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Minsmere and Sizewell

24th August.
Back to the proper birding and a font size we can hopefully all live with.
Back living in Suffolk until Christmas, so you may notice a somewhat southern twang to my sightings.
The north bushes were finally alive with migrants; at least 4 beautiful Lesser Whitethroats, Willow Warbler and Chiffy all stocking up before the big journey. The scrape was dry save for a pocket in the corner which held Green Sandpiper, but a little more action from the public hide. A Greenshank finally gave itself up, Ringed Plover tried to convince us they were 'Little' and 2 Spotted Redshank fed with purpose. The Terns and Gulls were at sea, so it made for a fulfilling and quiet morning.
Of significance in the Dunes, 4 House Sparrow, a bird very rarely recorded her. There did used to be houses near the Sluice, but that was over 100 years ago to my reckoning. Further on, 2 Yellow Wagtails were a nice treat, feeding around the legs of the Konik Ponies. Swallows prepared to leave. We apparently missed 3 Whinchat on the reserve-bugger.
Sizewell was very productive. Offshore at one of the rigs, at least one Black Tern, 40+ Little Gull and around 15 Common Terns. Right on time, an Arctic Skua flew through, not troubling the Terns one bit. Smashing stuff.

Birdfair and Rutland Water

Managed to limit myself to a single purchase at Birdfair, picked up the moth guide for 20 quid, a bargain. Good to see friends and grab a couple of tarts ticks in the shape of King and Packham. Cant deny their passion is inspiring. Jonny Kingdom lumbered past, I was suprised to even spot him since he was bedecked in camo. Camped, so was able to attend the friday night bat walk. Common and Soprano Pips, one Noctule and a possible Whiskered. Something I would like to do more of. What happened to the saturday night entertainment?! Had to resort to sitting at the campsite drinking CIDER and adding to 'The Campsite List' which by sunday included Yellowhammer and Osprey. The onsite security was pretty hot this year; always questioned upon leaving the campsite to enter the fair in the evening. "Where are you going?" "Why are you here?" "How big is your list?".
Went to the Lyndon reserve on sunday, Tree Sparrow from the centre and Osprey from the Shallow Water hide the highlights. Juv Yellow Wag, Egyptian Goose and a few Blackwits made up the numbers. Stunning day weatherwise in a very English part of the country that I rarely visit.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Hickling Baires all!

10th August 2009

So, here we go. Thanks for reading!
After news broke that the Baird's Sandpiper had returned to Rush Hill Scrape the previous evening, I drove to Potter Heigham Church in the hope of a Norfolk and British tick. After a short work in the increasing heat, I was looking at a Bairds Sandpiper through my pre- Berlin Wall scope! Fantastic stuff, and my thanks goes to both the Dunlin and little Stint which allowed close comparison. Very long looking bird, more so than the White Rumped Sandpiper I had seen at Welney the pevious week. Feeding pattern was slow and methodical, this time in contrast to the feverish Whitey from Welney.
Decided to visit a few of my usual haunts, which today included Sea Palling and Happisburgh. The former was quiet save for a movement of Swallows, and the latter was not very forthcoming with birds. After an hours seawatch which produced 3 Redshank and 14 Sandwich terns, I gave up. Not without one moment of winged glory- a Wall Brown misbehaved and put out briefly on the ground. This Butterfly lark (not a new species) is still new to me, so excuse any mistakes.
A very good few weeks, considering the timing. PGP, WR Sand and now this. It is easy to switch off in the summer and wait for the Autumn. I hope these few weeks will serve as a reminder for me in the coming years.
Anyone going to Birdfair?