Wednesday August 3
My birthday. Coffee morning at Joan's first, then, the first outing for my new butterfly net at East Ruston Common. Very windy indeed, gusts of up to 40mph, not conducive for flying butterflies. We glimpsed Small Skipper, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown - I netted two Grasshoppers !
Thursday August 4
Jem turned up at Cley for this morning's session with a Wormwood in a pot, new moth for us. Excellent.
After a pretty awful, chaotic and disorganised moth session with few moths of any note - it was an open morning - we drove to Minsmere. There has been a potential 'first for Britain' bird here since last Sunday and this was our first opportunity. The bird was on South Girder Pool behind South Hide. The path was chokka with 40 + birders when we got there. We 'excuse me'd ' very firmly, as advised by Ann D and got through to a clear area from which we both saw the WESTERN PURPLE SWAMPHEN before it disappeared into the reeds. As suggested by Sue B, we then entered the hide, and climbed to the upper floor. Ten minutes later, the occupants of the seat facing the pool left and we took their place. Great, an uninterrupted view of the pool. It did get rather cold with a fierce wind blowing straight into our faces. I closed the glass hatch at one point for a brief respite and the amusement of the two sitting behind us when Pam used her bins to look through the gap between the glass and the hide. We counted 14 Little Egrets on the pool at one time.
A couple of older male birders amused and irritated by pontificating about this bird's origin, totally confusing it with the grey-headed Asian species often found in captivity and seen as escapes in the UK. This bird is from the southern France population originating in Spain, which has dispersed northwards this year. There's another in Brittany at the moment.
An hour after it had disappeared the Swamphen appeared. It preened extensively, walked about a bit, flew a short way, preened again and melted into the reeds. Very distant with poor light, some rain at times, for photographs - apart from record shots.
More butterflies around the Buddleias near the Centre than we've seen all year, I wish we'd spent time studying them.
We left, happy and tired.
Saturday August 5
No sign of the Swamphen to-day. What a shame for the weekend crowds - and Minsmere's coffers.