Friday 29 April 2022


A quick trip to check for Terns at KGV early this morning delivered a nice bonus year tick in the form of a Black Tern flying around the south basin. The smart summer plumaged Red-necked Grebe was still about but remained in the middle of the reservoir during our brief visit. As we watched the Terns our attention was taken by a group of hirundines overhead and following them was my first Swifts of the year with a small group of five followed by another group of twenty plus with yet more hirundines. 

A Turnstone was seen as we searched for Common Sandpipers and shortly after we added the Sandpiper to the year list with at least three birds present. Two Yellow Wagtails were added to the days totals before we left but the drake Smew eluded us.

A short but productive visit with three new for year birds. 

Year list now 206

Common Sandpiper

House Martin

Pied Wagtail

Red necked Grebe

Sand Martin




Thursday 28 April 2022

Lakenheath RSPB

I've recently been bemoaning my lack of birding opportunities or adventure but with Robert wanting to visit Lakenheath, yesterday gave me an opportunity for a decent morning out with him and the Jims. We left home early and arrived at Lakenheath around 6am. Lakenheath is one of those great reserves that has dawn-til-dusk access and allows you to enjoy the dawn chorus fully and so we started at the washland view point where we found Garganey, Ruff, Avocet, Black-tailed Godwits and more but the noise was the most impressive thing as all around us we could hear Sedge/Reed/Cetti's Warblers, Reed Buntings, Wren, Robin, Blackbird and Common Whitethroats all singing as if their lives depended on it.

The walk up the river bank gave nice views of several of the above singers and a Grasshopper Warbler was heard very distantly reeling. The Greylags and Egyptian Geese have young with the latter almost fully grown. Cuckoos were calling and often seen perched up or in flight and our first of many Marsh Harrier was seen as we walked past New Fen.

We arrived at Joist Fen and sat to enjoy the view for a couple of hours. Single Cranes were seen on five occasions flying across the reed bed and dropping into the surrounding fields. These are thought to be wondering birds not the birds breeding on site. Marsh Harrier continued to show and we had two Bittern in flight along with several fast flight views of the local Kingfisher. The view from Joist Fen has changed a bit with the reeds being thinned to create a scrape which held large numbers of Snipe. We added House Martin to the year list but general numbers of hirundines was low and with the cool grey day no Hobbies had shown on this visit. A single Common Tern flew up the river.

Distant Common Crane feeding out on the farmland across the river

Reed Bunting

Sedge Warbler

We slowly made our way back visiting the hide and New Fen on our way. At the hide we had brief distant views of some Bearded Tits but it was very quiet and slow viewing with the entertainment coming first from a Coot feeding its single chick then a fight between four Coot and finally and interaction between Coot and Great-crested Grebe.





Great crested Grebe

Great Crested Grebe

This Grebe popped up next to the Coot giving it quite a fright

At New Fen we had another encounter with a wondering Crane that was joined in the air by our third Bittern of the day.  

A brief visit to Cavenham before leaving the Brecks was disappointingly quiet and we failed to find a single Stone Curlew. 



A day list of 80 species was reached with just the one year tick being House Martins.

Year list now 203

Tuesday 26 April 2022


A few images from last weeks visit to see Colin at Thursley


I may just have to go back!

Monday 25 April 2022

Breaking 200 for the year

It's not been an easy year so far with difficult challenges at home along with the joyous birth of my second grandchild and my third expected any day now all preventing my birding adventures being as regular as I'd like but when I do get out the experience is always rewarding and I've been lucky to find a couple of spare hours both Saturday and yesterday to do a 5k walk around the Lee Valley and recharge the old batteries.


Poor record shot of the Gropper

Grey Heron

Grey Heron

Grey Heron hunting in the nettles

My first baby bird of the year with this Mallard duckling

Saturday saw me get my 200th bird of the year when I found a Reed Warbler in a very small thicket of reeds along the river Lee as I walked up to Holyfield lake. I also added Garden Warbler with quite a few birds being heard on the walk and a very showy pair as I searched in vain for Lesser Whitethroats. So many Common Whitethroats around the park now and I also picked up Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Cetti's Warblers and a pair of Blackcap in almost every bush. 

I took the Jims back yesterday and they managed to get the two warblers ticked on our walk. We spent some time searching again for Lesser Whitethroat and I did get a very probable distant bird but I'll leave the year tick for a better sighting that I can be 100% sure of. We heard a couple of bits of song too whilst searching so I'm sure there are Lesser Whitethroats back and will have another look soon. A single Common Tern and a single Swallow in amongst the 58 species seen n yesterday walk.

Following a tip off from another patch birder we walked out to the hide at Cornmill Meadow and as we approached could here the calling of a Grasshopper Warbler which Dad eventually located low down in a small thicket. The hide is falling apart now a sad victim of vandalisation and the scrape was devoid of life save a pair of Mallard and a Moorhen.

Year list now 202

Wednesday 20 April 2022

Thursley Common to see Colin the Cuckoo

I took Rob down to Thursley Common today to see if we could connect with Colin the Cuckoo who I'm told is now into his eighth year returning to the same patch on the common. 


We arrived early, got a little lost trying to find the field but managed to get there before Colin.

Woodlarks visited the feeding station as did a pair of Stonechat and the group of admirers build from the three present when we arrived to a peak of around thirty or so. Common Redstart were in the field but never came close and then around 9am Colin made his first appearance. He hung around for a few minutes before leaving to go about his business of finding a partner.



An hour or so went by and he returned for a second feed giving the cameras another work out and he even sat on one of the prop branches and called which was great to watch. When he left we left and the walk back to the car gave us good views of several Dartford Warblers and a smart male Redstart. 

Dartford Warbler


A wonderful morning at a wonderful place. 

Year list now 199

Saturday 16 April 2022


I popped down to the valley at the crack of dawn this morning and found that the Nightingales have arrived back and were singing in the usual areas but I needed to be quick as I'd arranged to meet the Jims for a trip to Abberton.

At Abberton I found a single Yellow Wagtail at Billets Farm and saw a couple of Common Terns from here too. I then dropped the Jims at the old road before parking up and walking back to meet them for a Nightingale search. We found at least six singing males along with lot's of Blackcap and Chiffchaff. A Weasel ran across the road and a Great White Egret flew over to add to the occasion. It was great to see so many people out enjoying the birds many hearing their first Nightingale.



At the Causeway we watched as several Common Terns performed with a couple sitting on the railings and posing for the camera. There's a big delay on hirundines this year and we only saw a couple of Swallows.

Common Tern

Common Terns

We drove around to Lodge lane and walked down the lane to view the bay from the screen where we searched for the reported male Ring Ouzels. A Blackbird appeared and some Crows along with Skylarks, Yellowhammers, Reed Buntings and a Whitethroat before our target birds were seen. A Marsh Harrier drifted along and several Common Terns fished in the bay. A group of five Little Gulls flew through but didn't stay long. Back along the track as we headed out we found another two Yellow Wagtails to close a good mornings birding. 

Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

Year list now 197