Sunday, 20 May 2012

Chasing Gold

An early start today leaving home at 5.30am for the hour trip up the M11 to Lakenheath and allowing for Coffee at the Wild Bean we're parked up by 6.35am and within a couple of minutes we're watching a Barn Owl hunting along the rivers edge. Common Tern hawk the lake with the swifts, swallows and martins. Grebes, Swans and a few of the more common ducks are already up and about too. Sedge, Reed and Cetis Warblers are in full song as are the Reed Buntings. As we walk along the river bank a Marsh Harrier drifts across carrying a small bird in it's talons and the Barn Owl rises with it's catch. ( A small vole) We're listening for Grasshopper Warbler but apart from one very short blast they dissapointed. A Golden Oriole gave a very brief call from the first Poplar plantation. Further along the bank and as I scan the reeds where some Greylags are feeding I locate two Common Cranes and they give us great views. Moving on past plantation two and three and we reach the view point. A Hobby is perched on the old barn and gives terrific scope views as it stays sitting for an hour or more waiting to steal a meal when the Barn Owl returns. Bearded Tits ping all around us and a few come to the top of the reeds for good views. A Bittern booms and must be really close to us but we're unable to see it in the reed bed. As we track back to plantation three we turn our attention back to the target bird...Golden Oriole! After fifteen minutes or so waiting and listening a fellow birder gives a shout and we get on a male Oriole in flight from plantation two towards us at plantation three. The bird is now calling constantly in search of a female to breed with and this helps us locate it in the poplars although I struggle until Jimmy allows me and several other grateful birders to get on the end of his scope to view what is a stunning Golden male bird and one lucky guy that hasn't seen one before is especially pleased as he gets on just in time to bag a lifer. The bird flies back to the second plantation and we head off down the track at which point a Bittern flies over our heads and another Marsh Harrier drifts by.
A dark dove flies across and into the trees but I struggle to confirm Turtle or Collared.
The Oriole gives us another view in flight to round off a Golden morning in Suffolk.
Possible Gropper and Turtle Dove remain just that and await ticks another day but the Oriole is in the bag and on the list.
13 to go!
An hours drive home with the Jims both snoring most of the way until the Boss woke them with a blast of Born in the USA.

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