Monday, 28 October 2013

I'm Back!

On Sunday afternoon I arrived back from my RSPB Phoenix Conservation Weekend at Minsmere. I was so tired, so I wasn't awake enough to update the blog in the afternoon. Today we have had the power down since 8am - 5pm, so I have only been able to update till now.

Friday Night
The conservation weekend was excellent. We arrived at Blaxhall Youth Hostel near Snape, and I went into my dormitory. A boy called Louie was in there, who had came from Hereforshire. We had a chat, then shortly after that, another boy turned up, and he was called Gethin. He was from Glamorgan in Wales. Then a boy called Miles and Sam turned up, both from Colchester in Essex. These were my "dormitory buddies." Gethin new a lot about birds, more than the others. He used to be a twitcher, and I think he was more nerdier than me!

We had dinner - Soup, Jacket Potato and Tuna, then Apple Crumble and Custard, yum yum - then had a quiz and a talk from Sarah Wood, a manager at Minsmere. Very good. We then done a moth trap over night. 12:30am, we went to bed.

An 8am start was not difficult. We had breakfast - Full English - then looked at the moth trap. We caught a Red Green Carpet Moth, Angle Shades, Large Wainscot, Yellow-lined Quaker and several more. Then we left for Minsmere. We arrived at the discovery center, and were split into 2 groups. One was working in the woodland, and one was on the heath. I was in the wood in the morning, with Gethin, Sam and Stuart, and we were making a log circle for children. It turned out very well, considering we started off with a big pile of leaves and weeds. We had to make a path, then the log circle at the end. We then had lunch, and then went up onto the heath with warden Katie. We had to clear a dip full of weeds, big trees and big scrub bushes so that the scarce Antlion insect could recover from it's decline in the country, and so that Minsmere could be a strong hold once again for the Antlion. This was very fun, but hard working.

We then headed back tot he hostel for a meal, then back to Minsmere for a night walk to the beach. Very relaxing.

Today, we were going to Minsmere to see the birds. We had breakfast, and left at 8:50am. We arrived at Minsmere, and we headed for Island Mere. Didn't see much here apart from Red Deer, and Marsh Harrier.

We then went to Bittern Hide, but before we entered the hide, we were treated to something very special. An elderly gentleman was cupping his hands and walking towards us. He had a Blue Tit in his hand!!! It had flown into the hide and had got a bit weary. He handed it over to Mark, our head of the weekend and trained ringer, and showed us the bird in detail. Pitty I didn't get better picks.

When we released it it nearly flew straight into my head. Delightful little thing anyhow. Not much in Bittern Hide, so we headed for the scrape. Not much in here either apart from about 10 Snipe and a possible Female Pintail. We then headed back to the hostel at 11:30am and had lunch, and then left for home.

It was a great weekend, and they think they will hold it at Leighton Moss RSPB in Lancashire, which is the venue of Autumnwatch this year, so there we go. I would have just liked more time looking at the birds.

Today at Lackford Lakes - LIFER
After the horrific storm we had this morning, Dad and I headed for Lackford Lakes. We looked on the sightings board to see that 2 Jack Snipe, 2 Common Snipe, 2 Goosanders and several Crossbill were around the reserve. We headed straight for Bernard's Hide, and a very kind gentlemen directed us to my first ever Jack Snipe!!!!!

We also got a flock of 5 Crossbill, and a Common Snipe too.

As the Jack Snipe wasn't feeding very much, just sitting there sleeping, we decided to move on. We went to the Double Decker Hide. We got the pair of redhead Goosander, and further Common Snipe.

We the back to Bernard's Hide, to see if the Jack Snipe was feeding. He was definitely a lot more active. He was definitely on his Pogo-stick, but not his motorbike, you know what I mean! He was bobbing up and down a lot, but not moving anywhere.

We then went home to finally reveal that the power was on.

Just thought I'd show you this image. It was our neighbours trampoline that had turned upside down in the storm.

It's Half Term now, so I will have golf tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday, but hopefully I will be birding on Friday.

Happy Birding!

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