Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Strange visit to Minsmere

I went to sleep on Monday well aware that many birders would be travelling to Holy Island over night hoping that the Asian Desert Warbler had settled down. For me its a 12 hour return car journey and whilst I could handle that I find it hard to justify the cost of that journey in a single occupied car. If we were permitted to share a car then a three way split with the Jims might have changed my mind but instead I opted to visit Minsmere only 90 minutes from home and always a good place to get some birding in.

Minsmere scrapes
The reserve has opened trails but the shop and hides remain closed. At the car park you are asked to park with greater distance between cars which makes sense and you are asked to follow a one way loop too. The Public viewing platform is open but the area is somewhat overgrown as you'd expect with the lack of attention lately. I enjoyed good views of Bearded Tits and more Dartford Warbler on the walk out to the hide and in the end found scanning from the sea wall a better option than using the public platform. I found a large group of Sandwich Terns to give another year tick and a Single first summer Little Gull but couldn't find any Roseate Tern among the Commons.  I only counted another five birders in my three hours on site so perhaps many still think it's closed.

Entrance to the public viewing platform
Dunwich Heath is also closed but does allow prior booked access which I didn't have so I made do with a walk around Westleton Heath. I heard Woodlark singing and found a couple of pairs of Stonechat before spotting my first Dartford Warbler of the year followed quickly by my second third fourth and fifth. The warblers were busy and had no time to sit still and all views were flashes of movement only and hardly any calling.

Westleton Heath
Before I left I headed down the entrance trap and heard the Iberian Chiffchaff calling as I got out of the car at Saunders Hill. I managed a couple of views as it moved around the branches but nothing very clear but it was a welcome year tick as I'd missed the local Ponders End bird during lockdown.

Year list now 216

Reed Warbler
Bearded Tit

Bearded Tit
I'd still like to see that Asian Desert Warbler and it's still pulling my twitch strings but the sensible me is so far winning the debate.

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