Monday, 3 October 2011

Timely Mega arrives in Suffolk

Having struggled to get out birding of late (weddings, stags, birthdays) I was chomping at the bit to be back in the field. On Sunday I literally found myself in a field late afternoon, watching a North American Sandhill Crane, probably the rarest bird on my personal list in terms of previous records. This, the first mainland record, is certainly a bird that commands the wow factor. Watching from a distance of about 100m, the bird occasionally raised its head in our direction, threatened to fly, but then just carried on grazing. The grey plumage with rusty overtones looked beautiful in the fading sun. Back on the lane in Boyton village, people were parking up and sprinting towards the target- scenes I have not witnessed since the Winterton Black Lark.
I only just made it to see the Crane, since I had been away in London for a friend's wedding. Whilst Slough is not somewhere I would like to be stuck, a passing Red Kite certainly lifted my mood as I ate lunch in a graveyard! A Ring-necked Parakeet flew over the reception party at Windsor, and a Nuthatch called loudly from atop a pine. I was doing Urban Birding- like David Lindo, his book of which I finished on the train ride home. 
The patch has suffered of late, and I hate to think what I have missed passing through. An evening trip with the RSPB threw up good numbers of Duck flighting into the lagoon- 10 Tufties were notable. The only Bat species we recorded were Soprano Pipistrelle and Daubentens outside the Ferry House pub. Bats and Broadside- gotta love it!
I finally have some evenings free this week, so should get down to Surlingham before dark. Another wedding next weekend (am I getting old?) but it is in Bath, so a twitch on the way back? My money is on a certain Brown Shrike, returning to Staines, or maybe a Black Kite. Either would do very nicely! 

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