Anser Rare Breeding Birds Day Out, 12 July 2008

Male Ruff at Titchwell RSPB MJM

We left at 0500 from Whitminster, thanks to everyone for meeting here for a quick getaway. A very smooth hassle free run and a ten minute coffee stop and we were watching three Stone Curlew without the heathaze. A few Green Woopecker and Coal Tits were also noted. Fifteen minutes later at RSPB Lakenenheath we were walking out to the far watchpoint. Bearded Tits were very much on show, lots of bright juveniles gave us repeated views and a male dropped into a nest site five times while we watched. A Kingfisher was noted and best of all a food pass from the female Marsh Harrier to one of three juveniles was a joy to watch. The male was seen to begin with but had gone off hunting. Whilst this was going on a male Golden Oriole was singing and we got closer to it. I picked it up in the closest trees and got a scope on it but it did not stay in one place for me to get anyone else onto it. It sang for a prolonged period very close to us and gave views to three more of the group eventually moving deeper into the wood. A Cuckoo was singing and showing but a pair of magnificent Cranes stole the show with a close low level flypast. We gave it a further hour but the orioles sang but did not show.

An hour later and we arrived at Great Ryburgh Raptor Watchpoint, at least four Hobby, 2 Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk, a Marsh Harrier, 2 Buzzards and Yellowhammers were seen. We moved to Swanton Nover RP as rain had arrived to be told that two Honey Buzzard were on the wing before the rain and we arrived on site. It was still pleasing to see lots of Yellowhammer and Linnet plus Whitethroat. Again we waited but the sun would not shine over the wood so we gave up and went toward the N coast stopping to scan and succesfully find a female Montagu’s Harrier en-route with Marsh Harriers for comparison. At Titchwell RSPB the scrapes gave us 10 Ruff, 100+ Avocet, 3 Marsh Harriers, 3 Dunlin, 6+ Little Gulls, 40 Black-tailed Godwit and other common wetland species. The beach and sea was also good, 5 Eider, 2 Common Scoter, 40 feeding Little Terns, 20 Common Terns, 2 Manx Shearwater, Gannet, Sandwich Tern, Curlew, 12 Sanderling, Ringed Plover as well as flocks of Oystercatcher. About 85 species were seen during the day. Another hassle free run home and we were back at Whitminster by 9.30pm. Thank you to everyone who attended this successful day and for the emails and feedback post trip, it was also very enjoyable for us.

Avocet at Titchwell RSPB MJM

The birds were great but Jeremy Squire’s highlight was seeing the Union of South Africa steam past RSPB Lakenheath. Click on the link to see details of this loco.

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