Saturday, 30 May 2015

Little Bittern at Lakenheath and another day at Minsmere!

On Wednesday, Dad and I headed for Lakenheath to hopefully connect with the Little Bittern. The plan was to arrive at 9:30, see the bird within an hour, then head off to North Norfolk for Dotterel. Sadly, 3 hours later, at 12:30, there was still no flight views, but the bird was constantly calling all day...

Turn the volume up loud to hear it 'croaking'

We began to wonder if all our patience was for nothing, but at 14:20, a clutter in the reeds and the amazing Little Bittern took off and done a brief 5 second flight! This was followed by another flight view about 30 seconds afterwards, but we weren't ready, so this was the best shot we managed - that's what you get for resting!

There were plenty of Cuckoos about with Hobbies and an obliging Common Tern too...

Here are Tim Oakes' fabulous pictures of the Little Bittern. At least someone was ready...

As it was now about 14:30, we thought it was too late to go anywhere, so we stayed for the rest of the afternoon, where the bird didn't show any more, but still, a cracking lifer for me!

The following day, Thursday, I had another day at Minsmere volunteering to guide on the reserve. In the morning, I was with "Spineless Sy, " the two spined stickleback just before Island Mere, and to my surprise, it was actually quite entertaining to watch them. 

I then swapped, and I went into Island Mere for the rest of the morning. We connected with the Great White Egret in 2 flight views, with Bitterns, Bearded Tits and all the other usual birds present. 3 Little Gulls were flying out the back with the Black-headed Gulls.

The Scrape in the afternoon produced more of the same, with 1 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Turnstone being the only birds of note for this time of year.

I was gutted though to have missed a fishing Osprey at Island Mere, as by accident I turned off the reserve radio! Doh!

Did get some nice Bearded Tits though, with Hobbies about as well...

Happy Birding!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Two types of Red-necks!

On Sunday I was at Minsmere volunteering to help Springwatch run along smoothly! This will only be a brief post, so here are some shots of the male Red-necked Phalarope from the East Scrape. It kept its distant, so is a record phone-scoped shot. There were also a couple of Med Gulls about, 4 Little Gulls, Little, Common and Sandwich Tern, a rather late drake Pintail, Kittiwakes and the usual bits and bobs!

Then, yestersay afternoon/evening, Dad offered to take me to Livermere to see the full summer plumaged Red-necked Grebe. It was a fine looking bird, but very dozy to say the least. Like the Phalarope, it kept its distance, so the pics are pretty pointless even for a record!

Happy Birding!

Thursday, 14 May 2015

The Love of Patching!

For the last couple of weeks, birding has been focused on the patch, so that my patch total for the year has the greatest chance of increasing as much as possible.

The first Little-ringed Plovers came in on the 6th April, with 3 present up to a week ago...

The first Swallow was also on the 6th, with the first 2 singing Blackcaps on the 7th. The first Willow Warbler was in at Wildwood on the 10th too. The first Nightingales were singing on the 15th along with the first Whitethroat and House Martins...

The first Sand Martins were feeding on the 19th, with Garden Warblers and the first possible 'Greenland' Wheatear was present on the 21st...

The first singing Lesser Whitethroat was present at Wildwood on the 22nd, and the first calling Tawny Owl, Hobby, Greenshank and Redshank on the 24th.

Redshank record shot

Then, a very productive 'tour' around the patch with David Walsh produced Sedge Warbler (scarce on patch), Cuckoo, Reed Warbler and Swift on he 26th. 

On the 29th April, my luck was in as I found a cracking Yellow Wagtail. All the following shots are phone-scoped.

A good record was a Red Kite over Brewery Farm, Earl Stonham the Saturday just gone, and first my returning Spotted Flycatcher came back to the usual wood by my school on yesterday.

Bird of the month so far though was undoubtedly today, as I was walking out from school, a pair of Sandwich Terns passed over flying north! That's an incredible record for the patch, and takes my total to 103 species. That is already 3 more than my total last year!

Happy Birding (and patching)!