Monday, 4 June 2012

Norfolk dunes and Strumshaw Fen

Leaving Loughton at 6, We head for Winterton in Norfolk. There's been reports of a Woodchat Shrike present in the dunes recently. Though no reports for a day or so now.
Little Tern
It's not the main focus of the day, As Brian wants to try for Swallowtail Butterflies at Strumshaw Fen. But it's not a big detour to reach Winterton.
Arriving at Winterton we head out amongst the dunes, but it's not a surprise when we don't connect with the shrike. Further along the beach we reach the fenced off area which is to protect a colony of nesting Little Terns.
We get as close as we can without causing any disturbance to the birds. There's a fence around the area and then another electric fence for added protection.
With the aid of the scope I can get right in amongst the colony as the birds bring back sand eels to the nest sites. Amongst the terns there are a few Ringed Plovers present and there's also a single Sanderling running along the waters edge feeding.
From here it's off to Strumshaw Fen in search of the Swallowtail Butterfly. Reaching the reserve conditions are not great for butterflies. The sun is doing it's best to break through the clouds, but there's strong winds around and not surprising we have no luck finding any Swallowtails.
The reserve is pretty quiet, But there are four Marsh Harriers in the air together, and we see one pair complete a food pass and a female taking nesting material back to her nest site.
There's also Sedge and Cetti's Warblers present in good numbers, and I get a brief view of a Bearded Tit as it flies along the back edge of the pool in front of Fen hide.
Before completely the walk I get goods views of a Kingfisher as it zips past me across the path and heads along the rivers edge.
So only Little Tern to add to the year list today, But it was a cracking little bird and good to watch them at really close quarters.

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