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Friday, 20 July 2012

Caspian at last!

Thursday 19th July I was working at County Hall and afterwards I visited Strumpshaw RSPB hoping to see the caspian. I walked over to the Tower Hide, seeing Rob Wils he promptly showed me his stunning photos of the Caspian fishing and hovering right in front of the hide. Sadly that experience wasn't repeated while I was there. 2 juvenile Marsh Harriers perched on a couple of distant bushes whilst a Common Tern flew around and a Little Egret fished right in front of the hide. I then decided to check Beighton Churchyard, initially seing nothing but Wood Pigeons. In a very surreal moment having just visited and touched the gravestone where my great grandfather and great grandmother are buried, I immediately heard the purring of a Turtle Dove. Wonderful! I looked in the trees and then spotted the excellent Turtle Dove still purring perched on one of the figures (angels?) marking each corner of the very top of the church tower. I watching it as it continued purring its crop filling up causing a bulging neck as it purred. It then flew up and and soared down to the trees just west of here. I then spotted it calling from trees just north of the entrance before it flew to a tree west of here by the road. Where I watched it for sometime "purring" I called Paul & Jane and within ten minutes they had arrived but the Turtle Dove had flown back to the churchyard. We walked back in and heard the Turtle Dove purring again, and again perched at the very top angel marking the south- east corner. It was so therapeutic and relaxing to here and see this wonderful bird. A Yellowhammer was calling outside too. At 7.55pm, a tweet from Rob & Andrew stating the caspian was back on Breydon, and for the third night running I left a dinner that had just been cooked and within 20 minutes I arrived at Breydon South wall walking north 300 yards and by the concrete platform, I joined Andrew & Rob, the excellent Caspian Tern was perched on mud. It was a big bird being roughly half way in size between BH Gull and herring Gull. It had a big heavy red-orange bill and black wing-tips. It then flew towards the Lumps, driving around to Asda and it was on the mud amongst Gulls and Terns. It opened its bill wide when other birds got to close fending them off with ease. It flew a short distance and then walked back to join some Terns. Other birds seen were around 8 summer plumaged Knot. 50 Black- tailed Godwits and 18 Common Terns and 2 Sandwich Terns.

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