Saturday 16 September 2023

Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Minsmere

Jim and I decided on having a day out at Minsmere on Thursday and arrived at the Suffolk site for first light. We walked down to north path and decided on doing a day count with a target of 80 species.

The count started well as we ticked a few in the bushes and reeds with Bearded Tit probably the best of the bunch here. We then took the new boardwalk down to East hide were the real birding started. Avocets, Blackwits, Lapwing were all present in good numbers then we picked out several Common and Green Sandpipers before Jim found 3 Little Stint in a group of Dunlin. 3 Spoonbill were feeding in the far corner.

Avocets at Minsmere 


At the back of the scrape we found several Snipe and three Spotted Redshank then a Barwit amongst the Blackwits. Several Knot and a Grey Plover added to the wader count.

A Peregrine flew low across the scrape putting everything including the Spoonbills up, Buzzard, Red Kite and Kestrel added to the BOP count and a Wood Sandpiper dropped in briefly. We moved on to the public hide were we found the Buff-breasted Sandpiper ironically sitting in front of the hide we'd just left but it would have been out of sight from there. A Sparrowhawk and the Hobby were picked up in flight and a Great White Egret dropped in to add to our day count before the Buff breasted Sandpiper took flight and landed in front of the public hide to allow some record shots. A young Sparrowhawk flew along the ditch and landed on the fence making the BBS go to ground hiding in the grass before a Hobby buzzed through causing the BBS to take flight circling high around the scrape before returning to the far side nearer south hide. 

Buff breasted Sandpiper

Buff breasted Sandpiper

Buff breasted Sandpiper

Buff breasted Sandpiper

Common Sandpiper

Common Tern

Common Terns

Great White Egret

Great White

Spoonbill and waders

Spoonbill and south hide Minsmere


We left and decided on a walk up on the heath to year tick Dartford warbler which proved a surprising challenge but after an hour we found a couple of distant birds and had a close bird calling which we didn't manage to see. 

Jim totted up our day count on the journey home and bingo it totalled out at 80 on the nail.

A very enjoyable days birding added two year ticks with the Dartfords and the Buffy-breast.

Year list now 217

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