Saturday, 8 June 2013

Minsmere, Bitterns, Harriers & Otters

A much more relaxing days birding was planned for today. 
Setting off at 6am with a journey along the A12 ahead of us, heading for the Rspb's flagship reserve at Minsmere.
Making good time we arrive around 7.15 and find the weather is not as we had hoped. In fact it's very grey  and overcast with strong winds.
Heading off towards North wall, we stop for a brief scan of the area. A Red-backed Shrike had been seen in this area yesterday, but there's no sign this morning.
Another stop to view a family party of Greylag Geese proves a very good move, as an Otter climbs the bank and heads across the path and down the opposite bank right in front of us.

East hide is a welcome relief from the strong winds. There's plenty of activity on the scrape in front of us. A scan of the area picks out a pair of Garganey swimming in the company of Gadwall. There's also a nice group of Black-tailed Godwits busily feeding along the back edges of the reeds.
Then the Otter puts in another appearance. After feeding in the right hand corner of the scrape, it swims straight across in front of us. Marsh harriers are regularly seen flying over the reedbeds.

Marsh Harrier

At the public hide there's good numbers of Ringed Plovers feeding along with a handful of Dunlin and a single summer plumaged Knot. A couple of Little Terns picked out on the far side of the scrape adds a year tick.

A brief walk along past the sluice to view Lucky Pool, proves unlucky with no sign of any Spoonbills or Little Gulls seen.
A stop along the return path to visit South hide is rather more lucky, when another year tick in the form of a  Little Stint is found among the feeding Ringed Plovers. 
There's no sign of any Med Gulls, but there's a surprising number of Kittiwakes present on the islands. Two Little Gulls are also seen from here.

Spending some time in the Bittern hide adds Red Deer to the day's sightings along with good numbers and some close views of Marsh Harriers. Two Bitterns flying over the ruins of Eastbridge Chapel and heading across the reedbeds is another good sighting.
At Island Mere hide there's cracking views of a Bittern as it's picked up early and is seen heading straight towards the hide and then turns and drops into the reeds a short distance away.


A very enjoyable days birding, adding a couple of year ticks and meeting some very nice people along the way.

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