Friday, 29 March 2013

A "good Friday" at Minsmere

I took the Jims up to Minsmere today. We set out early and arrived on Dunwich Heath at around 7.50am after a nice red sunrise for a change. One of the best things about the trip up the A12 is you get to see the sun rising in the east and on occasion it's quite simply stunning.

We scanned the heath for a while finding only Chaffinch and Skylarks until I heard the calling of Dartford Warbler in a nearby bush. A quick call to the Jims and they joined me in time to see the first of three birds leave the bush and sit up briefly nearby. Tick 188 for the year.
Dartford Warbler

On the walk back to the car we flushed a Woodcock and saw some Red Deer to add to the Muntjac and Roe Deers seen on the way up the A12.

By 9am we're in the car park at Minsmere where the Jims bag another year tick when a Marsh Tit arrives at the feeders. A quick coffee and we're on our way to Island Mere hide to find a nice pair of Garganey (189) waiting for us. The drake is in splendid breeding plumage and eventually shows well and is even seen mating.

making little Garganey
From Island Mere we also see at least six Marsh Harrier and a Sparrowhawk. Water Rail are heard but not seen. The walk to the hide provided great views of several Goldcrest but the reported Firecrest eluded us.
I split from the Jims as they wanted to spend a little longer looking for the Firecrest and bagged a nice 2nd winter Caspian Gull on my way to the sluice where I also found a female Black Redstart.
Female Black Redstart
On the journey home we made a quick stop at Wivenhoe and enjoyed good views of Black Tailed Godwits, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Curlew and Grey Plover on the estuary banks.
Black Tailed Godwit
Black Tailed Godwit
Black Tail!
A good Friday with two year ticks for me and four for the Jims leaving me needing one to equal last March's total despite a very quiet month. Can I find one by Monday?......must be a Sand Martin around somewhere!

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