Monday, 28 July 2014

A Good Bird

Sunday July 27

Define a good depends on the birder's opinion, I think that a Pratincole is too good a bird to miss. A Collared Pratincole took up residence at Minsmere RSPB at least a week ago. We should go. We could photograph insects too, Odonata are usually good there.
What a surprise to set off in grey overcast, not good for insects - as it turned out. I should have done my homework better too. The bird was listed as being viewable from both East and West Hides. We walked to west as it was shorter with more chance of other birds too. Wrong. Plenty of room in West to view the packed East Hide with very restricted viewing of that distant scrape. Another birder had seen the bird fly, startled by a Marsh Harrier, about 15 minutes previously.
We sat for nearly an hour, seeing Black-tailed Godwit, Common, Wood and Green Sandpipers, Greenshanks, Snipe, Common and Sandwich Terns and  several juv Grey Herons which were useful in that they scared up birds for us. Patience was rewarded. Very good - if of only for half a minute - flight views of the Collared Pratincole which flew north, rising above the dunes before returning to land out of sight. 
Extensive searching of the area from the back of the hide was incredibly non productive. A vast empty reedbed, no Hobby nor Bittern, not even a Harrier.
On the return walk, we met a birder with whom we'd conversed in the hide. He'd just seen a newly hatched Ant-lion showing 'really well, on a leaf on the left near the toilet block'. Others there. We went as quickly as we could. No 'others' and we failed to find anything apart from three Butterflies, one of them a Greyling, on the Buddleias. It's only when this happens that one realises how sketchy the directions were. We should have asked for more detail. 
No Odonata at the ponds, plenty of Sand Martins on their second brood by now. Oh for some sun to bring the insects out. That wish was fulfilled too late, we were in Lowestoft when the skies cleared and it became a lovely day.  At least it was cool for walking.

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