Sub- header

Sub- header

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Deserted Minsmere

It was wonderful to have Minsmere reserve all to myself yesterday evening Friday 1st July, for a change. The place was completely deserted with only a couple of walkers seen in the distance off the reserve. Yes, it is great to see a range of people visiting Minsmere and especially bumping into old friends, but it was good to have the place to myself, for once!
Little was seen from the West hide, except for a multitude of Gulls, mostly Black- headed. 11 Mediterranean Gulls all adults, were seen from the South hide plus the on a green island just right of the hide the excellent Roseate Tern which stood with a back on view, but then was seen side- on when disturbed by an immature BH Gull. I checked the pools at the back and save for a hunting female Marsh Harrier close to the path there was little to see. A dainty tern with an all black longish bill, black on the crown (with a white forehead) dipping down to a point below the back of the eye, the black cap extended well onto the nape and finished on the mid nape with a neat rectangular cutoff, there was a little white on the lower nape separating the very pale pearl grey upperparts. It showed a dark (blackish) carpal bar and at rest the primaries showed a narrow dark wedge and the white tail could clearly seen jutting out beyond the closed wings/ primaries. It had very short red legs (compared to Common Tern) and the rings could just out be made out (with 30X scope) one at the top of each leg. In flight it looked very white with a relatively short- winged and long- tailed appearance compared to the nearby Common terns. This bird was therefore an adult winter- plumaged Roseate Tern, very instructive as this is the first I have seen of this species in this plumage I even got my notebook out and made detailed notes! Just right of the tern, an immature Little Gull was seen also stood on the island by the edge of the water.
Looking over towards the East Scrape a Spoonbill suddenly appeared in view and walked right, but not seen again.
Walking from the hide, overlooking the Konik flooded field I initially saw 11 Lapwing and then 2 very fine looking dusky Spotted Redshanks which eventually flew calling their distinctive "chew-it" call, a 3rd Spotted Redshank all sporting coal black plumage was seen here too.
At the Sluice 4 Swallows were flying around including one taking insects to the nest within the sluice pump. 2 swallows settled on the directional signs and one flew to the ground and was feeding on insects on the ground!
from the East Scrape with the now near setting sun almost right in my eyes I couldn't see much save for a family party of Shelduck, 1 adult and 6 immatures and 11 Black- tailed Godwit seen at the back. Walking along the path, to the North bushes something ahead proved to be Red Deer and I had a close encounter in ther fading light (barely 20 feet away) with 2 adult and 2 fawns looking very Bambi like with their small size and white dotted backs.
driving out along the road another Red Deer was seen and at a site nearby I walked along a footpath and scanning in the distance amongst all the Red Deer,in a distant field I saw 3 Stone Curlew, 2 adults and 1 immature. The adults were very active running around whilst the youngster was rather less peripatetic.
Walking back I tried for the Nightjars, which as dusk descended were churring away merrily, up to 4 heard. But the relatively cold temperature (and even mist settling on the lower parts of the heath) and subsequent distinct lack of insects meant I didn't see them.
At 12.20am Saturday 2nd July, popping out to the car I was really pleased to see a Hedgehog, our first for the present garden, retrieving my camera, the mammal proved camera shy and walked into cover amongst the Hebe bushes.

No comments: