Tuesday, 26 May 2015

A Hectic Days birding in Suffolk.

With limited time and a tight schedule we started the day at Weeting Heath in Suffolk, Walking towards West Hide I could hear a Firecrest singing. Soon afterwards one was spotted in an Ivy clad tree close by. Dad had wandered along to East Hide and had good views of two Stone Curlews on the ridge in front of the hide. Just before entering West Hide a Spotted Flycatcher was seen briefly perched in a tree in front of the hide. Disappointingly I couldn't find a single Woodlark, Plenty of Skylarks singing above us and several seen feeding on the short grass, but no Woodlarks!
Time to move on, and with Lakenheath only 2 miles down the road that was our next destination. The warden informed us that the Little Bittern was still present, but very elusive.
We headed off along the track and soon heard a Cuckoo calling followed by several Common Whitethroats, Reed and Sedge warblers. Eventually we arrived at the triangle of pools and joined the small group of birders already present.
Soon afterwards the Bittern was heard "Barking" and each time there was a period of barking the bird seemed to be moving forward among the reeds. Hopes were raised that it might appear at the edge of the reeds or make a brief flight. Unfortunately it never did while we were there!
Having heard of the presence of a summer plumaged Red-necked Grebe at Livermere Lake (Ampton Water) we decided to pay it a visit. Parking by the church and heading off along the grass track, we eventually arrived at the waters edge close to the wooden walkway leading to what looked like a small viewing screen or hide of some sort. The walkway didn't look to safe and it reached a long way out into the water, also not knowing if it was for public use we played it safe and remained on dry land.
The bird was quickly found to the right of the walkway and although it remained distant gave great scope views.
The RSPB reserve at Fowlmere was to be our last stop, which proved to be very frustrating in trying to track down Turtle Doves.
A Bank Holiday and early afternoon was not the time to visit! People had forgotten this was a nature reserve and the noise levels and strong winds were making it difficult to hear any "purring" Turtle Doves.
The tight timetable had beaten us and we had to leave without seeing any Turtle Doves.

While at Lakenheath we had been hearing reports of a male Red-backed Shrike being found at Fairlop Waters CP. This being only a 15 minute car journey from home!
Unfortunately dad had to go straight out again to run a relative to the Hospital which was the reason for the dashing about and tight schedule today.
Luckily on his return the bird was still being reported so we made the short trip, Brian had already left and we met up shortly after arriving. we met a birder on the walk out who gave us directions. (stay on the sandy path until you cross the bridge just passed the lagoon, then take the dirt track on the right until you reach the piles of aggregate) Having followed these instructions we were surprised to find no birders present! The habitat looked perfect for shrikes, and then dad spotted it perched up on a small bush!

Red-backed Shrike (B Anderson)

It was quite mobile while we were there and would regularly fly from one bush to another.

A stunning looking bird and a great end to a hectic days birding.

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