As I type the wind is giving the leaves on the trees a real run for their money, and since I last posted Autumn has certainly arrived. Still relatively mild (I had a t-shirt on at Minsmere last Sunday) but change is afoot.
Beginning with Minsmere, the presence of a Little Crake seeped out to the news services on Saturday the 4th. This would be a new bird for me, so after an early morning check round Rockland (Swallow and probable Brambling the highlights) I headed to Suffolk expecting a queue for Bittern Hide and the usual throng of twitchers hoping to catch a glimpse. I arrived mid morning, wandered into the hide and set up my scope, nowhere near as busy as I had expected. Within 10 minutes the bird scuttled out onto the vegetation at the back of the pool. Despite the haze, it was clear enough to see I was looking at A smart Little Crake. My cousin and Uncle were enjoying views too along with a few other familiar faces. I watched the bird for 15 minutes or so, until more people arrived and I got out of the way to give them a spot. I went down to the sluice bushes which were quiet. A Stonechat and parties of Bearded Tits were the pick of the bunch heading back to the car.
Down on the patch, a male Stonechat was at Church Marsh on the 4th, in exactly the same spot as last year's bird, perched opposite the gun club. At Claxton Marshes, the Whinchats have long since departed but I have had a maximum count of 3 Stonechat, so perhaps this family are local to the marshes.
Post-Little Crake, Debs and I went to Langley Dyke for a walk down to the river. We scored big time here with a dog Otter swimming away from us towards Buckenham.
Not sure how to play this weekend coming. I am a big Shrike fan and with the Steppe Grey at Burnham Norton this is very tempting. Looking at Magicseaweed, there is a window for some easterly passage. Bit of rain on Saturday afternoon so perhaps Sunday morning, hit the coast. This is a key weekend, as the following is booked for another house move. Not far, infact just a bigger place in the same village.The doorstep habitat here is awesome, and on a Spring morning I am pretty confident I will be able to hear Sedge Warblers from the drive........