Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Dartford Warblers & Cattle Egret in Suffolk

A day's birding in Suffolk started with a visit to Iken, hoping the long staying Cattle Egret would make an appearance at first light. Unfortunately, after an hours search of the usual paddocks and surrounding fields, there was just a single Little Egret found.
From here we went in search of Dartford Warblers on the heath. Despite the blue skies and the sun shining the fierce winds made conditions difficult and despite a lengthy search we headed back to the car having failed to locate any Dartford Warblers. About to drive away two birds appeared in gorse by the roadside, Two Dartford Warblers! These were soon joined by five more individuals, and they happily fed among the gorse while we watched from the comfort of the car. As we watched a Sparrowhawk appeared on the grass right by the road. Flushed by a passing car it flew alongside our car and disappeared into the gorse causing panic among the Dartford Warblers. Happily, they soon resumed feeding among the gorse either side of the road.

At Minsmere  Entering the Wildlife Outlook (formerly Western Hide). We were told a pair of Garganey were sleeping behind a small island in front of the hide. Unfortunately, they remained hidden for the next hour. and when a passing raptor flies overhead flushing the pair I miss them because I'm watching an Otter fishing in a pool close by and then following two House Martins as they fly across in front of the hide. The Garganey had flown over the ridge in the middle of the scrape, with no chance of seeing them from Western Hide, we headed round to North Hide and after some scanning, with the scope, I managed to locate the pair tucked in the reeds some distant away. 
Before heading for home we made a return trip to Iken hoping the Cattle Egret would be showing. Luckily as we passed Sandy Lane the bird is spotted along the edge of the bottom paddock with a small herd of cattle.

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