Monday, 5 April 2010

I have been keeping my fingers crossed that the pallid swift and lesser kestrel would stay in Suffolk until this weekend as we were heading to Minsmere for some birthday festivities. Unfortunatly the kestrel had not bee seen since Wednesday but we managed to get some great views of the swift at Kessingland.

The weather en-route was very dodgy with heavy rain, hail and beautiful sun and we wondered what would greet us when we arrived. After driving around (the wrong bit) Kessingland, we eventually found the right track that led us to the spot. Got out of the car and asked a birder where best place to see the bird was. He just pointed up and it was flying about over our heads! The bird was feeding over the edge of a sewage works and fishing pits giving good views although not coming down to low levels. I did manage to get a few shots but this one is the best and did need some editing. Against the grey clouds the overall brown plumage stood out but it was very difficult to see the scaly underparts and I only did see them briefly once. After about 20mins a large storm moved in from the south and the bird moved away before it arrived. Male chiffchaff and blackcap were also singing at the site.

Everyone was out by the time we made it to Minsmere, so we decided to go and have a look for bitterns at Island Mere. As soon as we got into the hide a bird was showing the reeds to the left of the hide. The bird was just back from the edge and obscured but did come out into full view after about 30mins. With the hide full, as soon as it appeared the noise from everyone calling it out pushed it back into cover. Consolation was a cracking summer-plumaged water pipit feeding just outside the hide.

I decided to go back early on Sunday to see it I could get any photos when it was quieter. Got to the hide just before 7am and the light was not good. There was a thick fog and you couldn't see the other side of the mere. 3 bitterns were booming (Adam heard 8 earlier) and one in flight briefly but none showing. Before the fog cleared, 5 feral barnacle geese flew by and at least 3 med gull were flying around in the fog. Once the fog cleared, a pair of little grebe started to display and nest build, a snipe appeared and the marsh harriers became active.

common snipe, barnacle goose, male marsh harrier

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