We kept promising ourselves an outing, to-day we made ourselves go on our probably annual visit to Weeting and Lakenheath - unless something turns up there.
No Major at Weeting, the first time I can recall that his booming presence was missing. The sad news is that he has terminal cancer and hasn't been at his beloved reserve for three weeks. He will be missed.
West Hide is again the favoured viewing place. The warden said that there were four adult Stone Curlews present, the two young had been ringed this morning so were probably hiding their shame. Her words.
We soon saw two of the adults strutting their strange boggle-eyed stuff on top of the ridge, frequently disappearing behind it. Despite the lack of sun, the heat haze was mirage producing. All as normal here - apart from the paucity of rabbits.
No activity from the nesting Spotted Flycatchers - we were sanguine anyway as we'd seen them yesterday - and the reported Firecrest was also missing.
Having enjoyed our half an hour in the hide and a hot chocolate in the car park, the next stop was Lakenheath RSPB. It's a lovely reserve which entails a lot of walking, something we cannot do at the moment. There were many envious birders as we drove the mile or so to New Fen, our permit to do so prominently displayed. There's only room for 5 or 6 cars to park, we were the third. Only a short walk to New Fen Hide along a much improved path, to find that the open fronted hide, shaded from the sun, was full. We sat on an outside seat for over an hour, gazing over an apparently empty pool and reedbed. Where were the Hobbies? Plenty of food, binoculars showed a myriad Dragon and Damselflies patrolling the water. They were very low, maybe that's why the Hobbies were viewable through the scope, distantly over Joist Fen. During our watch the Kingfisher appeared three times, hovering over the water before perching in a hidden area. I took one shot through my scope using my mini point and shoot. She who dares........ends up with poor photographs.
A Bittern flew in from the Centre direction, one Kestrel, a Buzzard and a male Marsh Harrier made cameo appearances, Reed and Sedge Warblers, Cuckoo, Garden Warbler, Blackcap and Whitethroat sang around us. A surprise was a Common Tern which also made three visits to fish in the pool.
By now the sun was out and it was very hot, I was hatless, lacking suntan protection and becoming distressed by this. My fault, I dressed for the conditions when we left the car. Photography was not on either as it's against the sun here. Shortly before we left, a Hobby flew right over my head, so frustrating. Especially after seeing Glyn Sellars' photos of a Lakenheath Hobby on Surfbirds. They are superb.
The Black-winged Pratincole and Little Bittern being seen very infrequently over Joist Fen were not possible for us. It's a good two mile round trip further on. I'm sure we could drive there, it's not allowed though. Understandable.
We loved our visit, we should come more often - and they sell Ronaldo's icecream in the Centre.