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Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Mediocre Minsmere

An afternoon off work for all the extra evenings I am working this week, saw me finally visit Minsmere in the hope of seeing firstly, Roseate tern/s which has been reported every day there for the last 2 weeks. Needless to say, today was the first day when they weren't reported, I certainly didn't see any. I secondly wanted to photograph what i assumed must be a close Spoonbill on the Scrape, it wasn't there, it had gone. 
Indeed I have never seen virtually the whole of the east Scrape completely dry. It was nice to see 2 of the former "islands" colonised by Sandwich Terns with some 120 birds counted.
About 40 Black- tailed Godwits were in evidence mostly around the West & North Scrape areas which still held some water.
On looking out from the open air public hide I counted 25 splendid dusky Spotted Redshanks, lovely birds, but sadly too far away to properly photograph.
At the sluice adult and immature Swallows posed quite well in poor light conditions. Whilst walking around to the South Hide, I encountered a Peacock butterfly larvae crawling purposefully across the path. More Godwits were seen from the South Hide, whilst the cacophony of Black- headed Gulls drowned out virtually everything else from West Hide.
Around 10 Avocets were busy feeding in the water (often close to the hide) busy swaying their distinctive upturned bills from side to side in the water to locate their invertebrate food in the water. An interesting spectacle was of a Grass Snake swimming in the water (they are rather good swimmers rivalling Michael Thelps for speed and dexterity!) and the closest adult Avocets and Black- headed Gulls surrounded it, because naturally the Snake could easily prey on their young chicks and the parent birds headed it off as it swam north to the nearest bank, with the chicks left unmolested.
On the way back a slight diversion to a top secret site I discovered last year, I managed to hear the all too rarely heard soft "purrrr" of a Turtle Dove from a nearby hedge I tried to view the bird but I didn't want to disturb it so I eventually left having not seen it. So sad this species has had such a catastrophic decline in numbers during the past decade or so.

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