Archive for the ‘Suffolk’ Category

A bright sunny morning saw myself and Keith on our way to the Minsmere nature reserve with Gravesend RSPB group.

On arrival, we decided that rather than try and get around the reserve and all its different habitats we would focus our attention on seeing and photographing certain key species.

The first of these was a Marsh Warbler. Although common on the European continent, they are rarely seen in this country and so this one which had appeared at Minsmere that morning was the top target. It was a very obliging bird and although it spent some time playing hide and seek behind bushes, whilst singing loudly to let us know it was there, we eventually got great views.

Marsh Warbler

Our next target was Eurasian Bittern, which breeds at Minsmere. We have been unlucky in our attempts to catch up with this species this year and so it was fantastic to get great views of one crossing a pool right in front of the hide.

Eurasian Bittern

Eurasian Bittern. Photo by Keith

 

 

 

 

 

Our next stop was Island Mere hide and the target bird was a Savi’s Warbler, another rare continental visitor and which had been heard singing in the area for the previous few days. Whilst here we had good views of Bearded Reedling, Marsh Harrier and of 2 more Bitterns. Eventually, after about an hour, some people, including Keith, heard it singing very briefly – unfortunately, I was not one of them. We waited another 30 minutes but it remained silent and we decided to move on.

Eurasian Bittern coming into land. Photo by Keith

We made our way down to the wader scrape and added a number of species including ducks, geese and wading birds, oh and another 2 Bitterns!

Along the paths and amongst the pools we found many Butterflies and Dragonflies.

4 spotted Chaser

Red-eyed damselfly

Cinnabar Moth

Comma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was soon time to return to our coach. An excellent day with a wonderful variety of wildlife and so many sightings of Bittern, but the Marsh Warbler was undoubtedly the bird of the day.

Red-legged Partridge [sp] (Alectoris rufa)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Bittern [sp] (Botaurus stellaris)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Water Rail [sp] (Rallus aquaticus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius hiaticula)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Bearded Reedling [sp] (Panurus biarmicus)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Butterflies

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Small Copper [sp] (Lycaena phlaeas)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)
Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)
Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus)

Dragonflies

Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)
Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)
Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas)
Norfolk Hawker (Anaciaeschan isosceles)
Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)
Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata)
Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum)

Weeting Heath

A day on the Suffolk / Norfolk border with one of my local RSPB groups saw a bright and early start at the Weeting Heath reserve just over the Norfolk border. The highlight of this reserve is breeding Stone Curlews, a rare bird in the UK limited to just 2 areas (here in Breckland and on Salisbury Plain).

Stone Curlew. Photo by Sergey Yelissev (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

Our arrival is greeted by some bad news. There are no nests in the area in front of the observation hides – in fact, there are very few nests on the reserve at all! A later talk with the warden revealed that this is true for many of the usual Breckland breeding sites and that some have no breeding birds at all. This is possibly due to a decrease in the number of adult birds who have made it to the UK this year (We are right on the northern edge of the breeding range), an increase in predators and a decrease in Rabbits (who keep the grass short, which the Stone Curlews like). The warden kindly offered to take us to a viewpoint where he can show us some birds and eventually we all got to see them through a telescope. They are very good at camouflage and can be very hard to see even when you know where they are.

Stone Curlews – can you see them?. Photo by Sergey Yelissev (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

With that successfully achieved, there is time to walk through the reserve’s woodland and Spotted Flycatcher and Coal Tit were good sightings.

Spotted Flycatcher. Photo by Nick Goodrum (https://www.flickr.com/photos/nrgoodrum/)

Then it’s onto the nearby RSPB reserve at Lakenheath Fen.

The view from the Washland Viewpoint, RSPB Lakenheath

On arrival, most of us head off to the Washland viewpoint to see the Glossy Ibis, which has been here for a few weeks. This eastern European bird is being more frequently seen in the UK and birds seem content to stay once they arrived at a suitable habitat.

Glossy Ibis. Photo by Duncan McCaskill (https://www.flickr.com/photos/148286771@N02/)

This achieved I head off to New Fen to look for Butterflies and Dragonflies and their accompanying predator, the Eurasian Hobby.  In all, I recorded 6 species of Butterfly and 4 species of Dragonfly including my first even definite sighting of Variable Damselfly.

Fenland reedbeds

Variable Damselfly. Photo by AJC1 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/ajc1/)

Eurasian Hobby. Photo by Nick Goodrum (https://www.flickr.com/photos/nrgoodrum/)

Two hobbies hunt over the reedbed and give great views and an excellent display of aerobatic flying. A male Western Marsh Harrier drifts lazily across the Fen and a male Bearded tit does a quick fly-past as it travels from one area of reeds to another. A male Yellowhammer is another good sighting.

An excellent day for wildlife although few good photographic opportunities – still you can’t have everything!

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Eurasian Hobby [sp] (Falco subbuteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Stone-curlew [sp] (Burhinus oedicnemus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Cuckoo [sp] (Cuculus canorus)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Bearded Reedling [sp] (Panurus biarmicus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Spotted Flycatcher [sp] (Muscicapa striata)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Yellowhammer [sp] (Emberiza citrinella)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Green-veined White [sp] (Artogeia napi)
Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)
Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens)
Variable Damselfly (Coenagrion pulchellum)
Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella)
Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata)

Bluebell Carpet

Posted: June 6, 2016 in Natural History, Suffolk, UK
Tags:

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On my recent visit to Minsmere in Suffolk I came across a wonderful Bluebell carpet in the woodland including some examples of White Bluebells.

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Moorhen displaying

Moorhen displaying

Off to Minsmere in Suffolk with the local RSPB group. Minsmere is a wonderful collection of different habitats collected together on the Suffolk coast and has long been one of the RSPB’s premier reserves. It has grown over the years and it is almost impossible to cover all of it in a single day’s visit so rather than trying to do so, I decide to target certain species and visit specific locations in the hope of getting some photos.

 

Pheasant

Pheasant

Arriving at the reserve, I set off to the south scrape as this is where the best bird activity has been reported.

South scrape

South scrape

A patient wait is rewarded with views of Little Tern, Red Knot and Grey Plover – although all too distant for photography.

Common Tern

Common Tern

Pied Avocet

Pied Avocet

From here I make my way to Island Mere hide. On the way a Western Marsh-harrier quarters the reads not far away and the wood is full of bird song. A brief diversion is made as a warden has located a basking Minotaur Beetle, which sits happily as photographers take their turn to record it.

Minotaur Beetle

Minotaur Beetle

The distinctive call of a Common Cuckoo is heard as I approach the hide.

Island Mere surrounded by reed-bed

Island Mere surrounded by reed-bed

This is to be a stop of brief views as both Eurasian Bittern and Bearded Reedling are seen in flight but do not linger in view before disappearing into the reed-bed. Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Cetti’s Warblers provide a constant musical background – all unseen from within the reed-bed. A hunting Eurasian Hobby is seen over the reeds and there is constant activity from the Marsh-harriers.

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My route takes me on across the heathland – hopeful of some early butterflies but the morning sun has receded and the wind has added a chill note to the afternoon. Any self-respecting butterfly is tucked away. Arriving at Scott’s Hall (one of the best sites on the reserve for Marsh Tit) it is disappointing to find the feeders empty and devoid of birds. But at the next feeder station, I am luckier and both Marsh Tit and Coal Tit are seen as they make lightning quick raids on the feeders, stopping only long enough to grab some food before departing.

Common Chaffinch

Common Chaffinch

Goldfinch

Goldfinch

My  final stop of the afternoon is West scrape.

West scrape

West scrape

Here I find a Meditteranean Gull in amongst its far more numerous relative, the Black-headed Gull together with Common Sandpiper and Barnacle Goose. These later are normally winter visitors, but there seemed to be a few each year which fail to migrate back to their arctic breeding grounds and hang around throughout the summer.

The afternoon was fast waning by this point and it was time to begin the journey back to London – an excellent days birdwatching, even if not yielding the photographic opportunities I had hoped for

 

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Bittern [sp] (Botaurus stellaris)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Eurasian Hobby [sp] (Falco subbuteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Grey Plover [sp] (Pluvialis squatarola)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Red Knot [sp] (Calidris canutus)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis)
Little Tern [sp] (Sternula albifrons)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Cuckoo [sp] (Cuculus canorus)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Marsh Tit [sp] (Poecile palustris)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Bearded Reedling [sp] (Panurus biarmicus)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Leiston Abbey in the 14th and 15th centuries would have been only one of many similar monastic houses which frequented the country-side of England. What is probably most remarkable about this site is the remains which depict how the Abbey was used after the suppresion of the Monasteries.

In 1530 the Abbot and the monks at Leiston were evicted from the Abbey and the property was given to the Duke of Suffolk who turned it into a Farm. He used some of the original walls to build a farmhouse and converted the Abbey Church into a barn.

Farmhouse incorporating walls from Abbey buildings

Farmhouse incorporating walls from Abbey buildings

farmhouse built into Abbey remains

farmhouse built into Abbey remains

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In the 16th century a new gatehouse was added.

Remains of 16th century Gatehouse

Remains of 16th century Gatehouse

Artist's impression of buildings during the 16th century

Artist’s impression of buildings during the 16th century

Further changes were made during the Georgian period, although generally the remains of the Abbey and its church were not maintained.

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In 1918 the site was bought by Ellen Wrightson, who restored the Lady Chapel as a place of prayer, and between the wars retreats were conducted there. On her death in 1946 the property passed to the Diocese of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich. The Ministry of Public Building and Works assumed custody of the ruins in 1964 (now managed by English Heritage). The retreat house was purchased by the Pro Corda Trust in 1977. Pro Corda is a UK youth music organisation providing a continuous and progressive programme of education through the medium of chamber music and ensemble training to young people aged 5 to 24. The site is also now managed as a Wedding and events venue.

The final day of our Suffolk trip and we travel west to the Wildfowl and Wetlands reserve at Welney. This is a reserve famous for its wintering Swans, but which also play host to a number of wader species on their migration.

On arrival after a two hour drive we stop for refreshment in the café, but this reserve is so well designed that even from here you have a great chance of seeing good birds as it overlooks the newly formed Lady Fen. When I first started vsiting this reserve back in the 1980s this was all farm land, but now it has been transformed into a wetland habitat. From the windows there are excellent views of Goldfinches on the feeder station, whilst Little Egrets patrol the shallows.

Goldfinch

Goldfinch

Little Egret

Little Egret

In the distance a large flock of Golden Plover wheel across the sky.

The main reserve is a wetland created by the washes, a system designed to prevent the flooding of the surrounding low-lying agricultural fields. We tend to think of flood alleviation schemes as being a modern one but the washes system dates back to the 17th century when King Charles granted a charter to the Earl of Bedford who engaged the Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden to construct the two Bedford rivers to improve the drainage of the River Ouse. Today they are an important site for natural history and particularly for wintering wildfowl.

The washes at Welney

The washes at Welney

Whooper Swans and Ducks on the Washes

Whooper Swans and Ducks on the Washes

Grey lag Goose

Grey lag Goose

Eurasian Wigeon

Eurasian Wigeon

Pochard

Pochard

Whoopwer Swan

Whoopwer Swan

Although it is only early March, most of the Swans have already left and begun their journey north to their breeding grounds. We are fortunate to find one remaining Bewicks Swan together with a dozen or so Whooper Swans present.

Also present on the islands are a good selection of wading birds – a large flock of over 100 Black-tailed Godwit together with a group of Snipe, some Redshank, two Common Sandpipers, a Ruffe and a Ruddy Turnstone.

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit
Photo by K.Koshy (https://www.flickr.com/photos/kkoshy/)

Common Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Photo by Sergey Yeliseev (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

Ruddy Turnstone
Ruddy Turnstone
Photo by Andy Morffew (https://www.flickr.com/photos/andymorffew/)

A great days birdwatching but we have to make our way home.

Arriving home at 1800 we are greeted by the sound of our local Tawny Owl, the first time we have heard him this year, which is a perfect way to end the weekend.

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Bewick’s Swan (Cygnus columbianus)
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Tawny Owl [sp] (Strix aluco)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

As we left the converted farm where we were staying we flushed 2 Grey Partridge from the road-side.

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038059-IMG_9242 Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix)
Grey Partridge
Photo by Tony Morris (https://www.flickr.com/photos/tonymorris/)

Our first birdwatching stop was in Aldeburgh, famed home of the composer Benjamin Britten. Turning north up the coast road we stopped at the marshes just outside Aldeburgh and found a good selection of Duck plus at least 6 Little Egrets.

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Little Egret

Little Egret

Arriving at Minsmere around lunchtime we headed off through the woodland area. Marsh Tit was seen on the feeders. This locally rare member of the tit family is very common here and is certainly one of the birds of the reserve. Green Woodpecker was heard and a Greater Spotted Woodpecker seen flying away through the trees. Arriving at the extensive reed-beds we spend sometime waiting for a Bittern to make its presence known but with no luck.

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We move onto the Freshwater mere and are greeted by the sight of Marsh Harriers over the reeds. Three geese are seen on the far-side of the Mere and closer examination reveals them to be Tundra Bean Geese, a rare winter visitor which is only usually found in the UK in the Yare valley on the Suffolk / Norfolk border and in Scotland near Falkirk, so this is a good sighting away from those areas.

Tundra Bean Goose · Nestucca Bay NWR, Oregon
Tundra Bean Goose
Photo by Skip Russell (https://www.flickr.com/photos/skipr/)

Eurasian Teal

Eurasian Teal

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Our final stop is overlooking some pools in the reed-bed and some mud-flats. On the former there are two sleeping swans. Unfortunately they remain asleep covering all the necessary indicators of which species they are. Then they briefly raise their heads and it is clear from their yellow beak markings that these are two Whooper Swans, winter visitors who will soon be heading north to their breeding grounds. Before I can get a photo they resume their sleeping pose! On the mud-flats are Oystercatchers and Avocets.

Pied Avocet

Pied Avocet

Grey Partridge [sp] (Perdix perdix)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Tundra Bean Goose [sp] (Anser serrirostris)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Marsh Tit [sp] (Poecile palustris)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Another opportunity to get out of London for some birdwatching. This week I head into East Anglia again but this time my destination is Minsmere, an RSPB reserve on the Suffolk Coast. One of the great things about this reserve is the variety of habitats: Reed-bed; lake; mudflats; woodland and heathland all in this one area. This diversity of habitat has made it one of the favourite spots for many birdwatchers over the years.

DSCN1010a

DSCN1017a

However with this years bad weather there has come a lot of flooding. The mudflat scape looks like a lake and the channels and ditches are full to over-flowing. Some of the trails have only re-opened this week after being flooded and impassible. These abnormal conditions plus the high winds on the day were bound to reduce the numbers of birds to be seen. The only birds present in the wet area were Ducks, Greylag Geese and Lapwing, with other waterbirds being either absent or in very low numbers.

Lapwing

Lapwing

Greylag Geese

Greylag Geese

In fact the highlight of the day were the sighting of Marsh Tit and Coal Tit ( 2 of our more uncommon Tit species) on the feeders at Scotts Hall and seeing some Red deer at close enough range to photograph.

Coal Tit
Coal Tit
Photo by Sergey Yaliseev (http://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

Marsh Tit 6
Marsh Tit
photo by Steve Chilton (http://www.flickr.com/photos/steve_chilton/)

Red Deer

Red Deer

A good days birdwatching but slightly disappointing by usual Minsmere visit standards.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Eurasian Bittern [sp] (Botaurus stellaris)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Marsh Tit [sp] (Poecile palustris)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Treecreeper [sp] (Certhia familiaris)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)