Another social occasion with birding.
Minsmere is a convenient meeting point for our Essex friends, Jen and Marj. It was a surprise to find heavy machinery warnings en route, followed by a rash of temporary buildings taking up space in the car park. These housed the cafe/shop/visitor centre in one, the loos in another - and I don't know about the others. The 'old' centre is being extended towards the loos and a new activities centre is well on the way near the workshops. Hm.....
The cafe area is very small but, there was an empty table for us to catch up over a hot drink before walking to West Hide, on a perfect winter morning. Blue sky - without wind to exacerbate the cold.
All the expected ducks from the hide, until Jen spied the pair of Smew distant on the north side of the scrape.
|How good are your eyes? Male Smew. It's the pale blob in the middle - taken with my Powershot|
We'd planned a walk to Island Mere after lunch to see them . Great, one of my favourite birds. Fiona (!) the escaped Greater Flamingo fed in front of East Hide, 3 Bewick's preening nearby.
After lunch, we all drove to the Coastguard Cottages on Dunwich Heath. After a sterile half a mile of heather scanning, M and J walked further, Pam and I returning to the car. Waw, a handsome male Dartford Warbler perched on top of a bush for a couple of minutes before disappearing into the depths.
We were not as lucky at Ness Point, at lowish tide in poor evening light. Plenty of Turnstones, no Purple Sandpipers to-day.