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Sunday, 9 May 2010

A Fine Day at Minsmere (the birds not the weather!)



Walking to the North Hide, I could see a singing Garden Warbler on a tree and reaching the North Hide, the excellent  ringtail Montagu's Harrier was seen flying south over the reedbed behind the West Hide. It then flew over the Scrape causing pandemonium with all the Gulls up in the air mobbing it and it flew north and disappeared behind the North wall.
Meanwhile a fine Wood Sandpiper was seen in the feeding in flooded grassy area east of the North hide and joined by a solitary Black- tailed Godwit. It was later joined by a Reeve. Way out over East Scrape, 2 Little Terns were seen and 2 Sanderling in summer plumage as well as 2 Common Sandpipers. Looking west of the hide, a group of 24 Black- tailed Godwits. 
Walking back, I saw another Garden warbler singing and from the West hide, Avocets were seen and around 5 Black- tailed Godwits were seen too. Up to 4 very smart male Ruffs seen almost in full breeding plumage (several black and chestnut combinations and one silver/grey black looking very similar to an sp Grey Plover). Whilst out the back, I saw a slim Harrier looking fly past I quickly legged it out of the hide and noticed the excellent Ringtail Montagu's Harrier flying languidly (almost like a Common Tern)  south over the reedbed and I walked to roughly halfway between west and south hides.
A slim bird with long tail looking almost like an oversize Falcon, brown above with three prominent primary tips and the facial pattern clearly seen of dark cheek patch contrasting with the whitish area behind the eye. It show a restricted white horseshoe shape rump, the wings showed barring below with dark brown pointed wing/ primary tips and thick dark brown trailing edge to the wings. The wings also showed on one wing a green tag on the other a yellow one. It flew back across and then distantly over the woods behind the Bittern hide and then flew towards me (albeit in dismally dull sky causing my photo's to be barely silhouette views) and then over the West hide causing all the Gulls to fly up. When I dashed into the Hide I couldn't believe it when nobody in the Hide had seen it!!
Walking back to the West Hide, the sun came out at last and the Wood Sandpiper was seen again on the North-east section of the Scrape but a biting east wind cut through the Hide (same area as before this time joined by a Reeve. The call of a 7 note whistle alerted me to a fine group of 5 Whimbrel flying north over the beach.
The Montagu's Harrier after a while briefly flew up from the grassy bank east of the Scrape and 100 yards north before flying down again into the reeds near the gorse in bloom. An overflying female Marsh Harrier briefly put the female Montagu's Harrier up again.
A singing Garden Warbler seen again and in a sunlit bushy area just south of the carpark pond, a Nightingale showed unbelievably well sitting on the ground, feeding behind some twigs near the ground, perched up in low branches and posing very nicely for the line of cameras and the very appreciative crowd that had assembled, needless to say I took full advantage with my camera.

At Westleton Heath, I saw our Chairman and RS, PN & CM all evidently on a bird race as I walked south off the car park I heard the purring of an excellent Turtle Dove sadly not seen. 
A pair of Stonechats seen then a Dartford Warbler perched briefly atop a bush before 1 flew into a bush in front of us. We heard the purring Turtle Dove again and whilst driving down the road to Dunwich NT just 200 yards down I counted 22 Red Deer sat down in a field close to the road and I sneaked up and took a few photos.
I hope to post a few photos soon from my new Canon 7D camera, but need to clear some of the pics on my computer hard drive first.

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