Posts Tagged ‘Minsmere’

 

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)

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

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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)