Saturday, 7 April 2012

Friends and Birding

Friday April 6th
We love visiting our friends at their caravan on Dunwich cliffs. The big front window faces the sea and we often see birds from there. Not to-day though - Jen saw a Sand Martin fly through and said 'there'll be more ' . There weren't.
After the initial chat, we set off for Minsmere RSPB. The car park was absolutely full, several cars driving around looking for space. As it was lunch time, we thought it was safe enough to park in the empty coach parking area, sooh joined by half a dozen more cars. Pam told them at the impressive new centre but they still hadn't opened the overflow car park when we left. The latter now has a pole preventing entry, we used to be able to open the gate for good views over the levels.
First stop. Bittern Hide, hearts dropping when we saw the number of people present, sitting and standing. We only stood for about 10 minutes before enough people left for us to find a seat. After 20 minutes enjoying Marsh Harriers in flight, a Bittern flew across the reedbed almost directly towards us, landing about 30 feet away in the reeds. It posed, beak pointing skyward in the classic mode, for 10 seconds before creeping away. Lovely.
Cameras pointing at a tree gave us a clue that we should look - Treecreeper showing very well.
East Hide had only two birders present. Were most people in the cafe and the Bittern Hide?
The main scrape held thousands of Gulls, nearly all Black-headed, a screaming cacophany. I scoped the larger gulls at the back of the scrape and found at least one 2nd winter Caspian Gull with its long slender beak and long-necked look.  A lifer for M and J. In the meantime Pam found a handsome Med Gull. All three hirundine had been reported this morning, we saw none.
As it was a very late lunchtime, we made our way back to the car, seeing another Treecreeper (might have been the same one ) and  a Goldcrest en route.
A short diversion down the Eastbridge Road where we parked in a pull off and we all scanned the surrounding fields. Pam was the first to find a feeding Glossy Ibis which we then shared with half a dozen other searchers.
A very successful, if short, interlude. We were home by 6 o'clock in time to see the end of the Swansea/Newcastle match which ended 0-2.

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