Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Mega!!! Great Knot Breydon Water and Collared Pratincole at Minsmere

A Great Knot in Norfolk and a Collared Pratincole in Suffolk, both would be lifer's, so when Brian phoned shortly before midday it didn't take much convincing to join him.
The Collared Pratincole had been reported at Minsmere, so with this being on route we pulled into Minsmere car park and headed off along the main path towards the beach.
We had been told that the bird was not showing from the hide, and that viewing from the beach would give us a better chance.
Joining the small group of birders already present, we were told the general area the bird had dropped into. After a while and with no sign of the bird, we decided to try our luck from East Hide.The hide was packed, but we managed to grab a spot upstairs and with a few directions from birders the target was found.

Collared Pratincole (to the right of the single Avocet)

Not the greatest of views at first, but eventually it decided to make a few brief flights, giving us the chance to note some of the key features.
With a lifer safely in the bag, I could relax and scan the the rest of the scrape for anything of interest.
A group of  Little Gulls were seen along with Several Spotted Redshanks and a smart Med Gull dropped in while we were watching the Pratincole.

We headed further North, in the hope that the Great Knot would be showing at Breydon Water.
Pulling into the Rugby Club car park, I had visions of a long walk out to where the bird would hopefully be. But it turned out to be surprisingly shorter than I had expected, and in no time at all we had joined the group of birders scanning the distant birds.
The light wasn't great, but after some directions I managed to get on the small group of Knot and with time and plenty of scanning of the flock managed to locate the bird.
The bird was quite distant and with the light and heat haze not helping all I was picking up on was what looked like a longer bill and longer body to the other Knots around it. The feeding habits seemed more purposeful and more thoughtful than the other birds around it. whether this is the case or not I don't know but that was the impression I got.
As the light changed and the bird moved around feeding it gave much better views, although still quite distant.

The reported "probable Collared Pratincole that had dropped in at Cley, had now been re-identified as a Black-Winged, we thought about heading off towards Cley, but while on route news came through on the pager that the bird had flown high South.
So we decided to start the 120 mile drive for home.

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