Monday, 27 April 2015

These posts are too exciting! Minsmere again! Scarce self find and more... 3rd April 2015

recently I've found that these blog posts have been insane, not because of me writing of course (there's always mistakes!) But the quality of birds have been astounding which really fills me with joy talking about something that may even interest you. Today we left David (for a bit) and ventured out into the main scrape and surrounding reedbeds, I found 2 quality birds and saw another!

Adding further to my problems (again was my Grandparents!) SLEEP. In an attempt to remove himself as culprit, my Granddad recommended me saying this "Further to my problems of lack of sleep when traveling with my grandparents. I now realise why the noise I endured was so excessive. My Grandad takes out his hearing aids at night, so he cannot hear my Grandma snoring"....

But no Granddad you're not going to sneak out of this, it was the pair of you!!! 
Back to birds. We arrived at the car park after my amazing map skills, to a slightly windy and overcast Minsmere. While getting prepared with cups of coffee I (as usual) got into a conversation with some other fellow birders near the Sand Martin bank. They thankfully pointed out the inconspicuous (I'm really sorry for these great words, I really am) Bird's Nest Fungi, funnily it did look like that apart from the fact it was fit for an ant! 
I had seen the reports of this rare Fungi before hand but wasn't expecting it to be 1-2mm thick. 
Sadly however, we had just missed their peak display (?) 

After my Granny and Granddad had gulped down their Coffee we made it to the North Hide overlooking the very impressive scrape. Lapwings were displaying, it was incredible, this was the first time I had heard/seen them doing it, there's no way of reinacting it... All I could suggest though is it being like those toys which you move from clockwise to anticlockwise making that "yup, yuppppp" I'd be amazed if any of you get it!

We managed to spot the couple (not pair as they're juveniles) of Spoonbills on the scrape, both exhibiting a beautiful collection of colour ring assortments, boy it brings a smile to my face! All the usual reedbed/scrape birds followed with nothing unusual to be found! But great nevertheless.

The next hide brought all the good fortune. The East Hide. But that wasn't before I laid eyes upon some beautiful, and in my opinion uncharacteristic Red Deer tip-toeing through the reedbeds!

I believe there were eight in total, although it wouldn't be unpresidented (ok word) for one the Does to have sneaked into the shot above! We also watched the newcomer, a Little Egret stalking it's prey in a rather uncryptic camoflague! 
However, with persistance I did notice it pick out a Stickleback of some description.
Now after a seemingly long trek down the sand bank which failed to yield any unsuspecting Wheatear, we entered the hide. After 10 minutes or so I picked up on an interestingly dark-mantled Larus (Gull) it gave a powerful look almost like a Great-Blacked-Backed Gull in stature. I belive along with a few others for it to be a 3rd winter Yellow-Legged Gull...
GBBG left and Herring Gull bottom right for mantle comprison...

Due to its beastly stature and solid bill it suggests male although there is a lot of overlap! So there was my first scarce sighting of the day followed by an even more exciting one for me... "Is that an Avocet over there" my Grandma pointed out. I had a look and sure it was, apparently over 100 pairs now breed, but that wasn't the scarcity, oh no! It was the one resting in front

AN ADULT WINTER LITTLE GULL! Not incredible, I do know! These were just as rare

But it was the self find part which really made it exciting... And off I went swiftly walking towards the visitors centre, only to find out it had been seen at island mere :( Although I would class it as a self find as I didn't know of it, and was at a different location, also who knows if it was the same one, although very likely!? 
Within the confusion/excitment I still managed to take a photo one of the 5ish Turnstones patrolling the mud promenade. 

Once we got back to base and met up with my Grandparents we decided to set up camp and have some lunch, once again I picked the Suffolk Bacon Butty speciality! Halfway through the Butty David bumped into us once again, what a lovely coincidence, always great! Beforehand however I had already seen the Black Redstart which had been shown to me by the people who showed us the Bird's Nest Fungi, yet another coincidence! 

The last couple of shots I was very pleased with because of the contrasting background and dark perch, this female was a poser... Only one thing of note, the double grey patch on the wings gave it an interesting look as I always belive them to have had a single grey dash on the wing. Probably a natural variation, nothing special. 

Back to food David & I as usual had a good chat on what had happened so far, and what he had been up to, because of the sightings I had come up with he was off a couple of minutes early in search of the Black redstart on the Sand Martin Bank to no avail. I went off prematurely as well compared to my Grandparents in search of him in a miraculous way we didn't manage to bump into each other even though I must've crossed paths with him at some point! We later met up back at the East Hide. We both failed to pick out another/the Yellow-Legged Gull but did find another interesting looking Gull...
Straight away the dark eye of the 3rd winter bird standing in the middle hits you. Caspian has to be on your mind. But other than that everything else pointed to a dark-eyed Herring. This includes dumpy appearance compared to leggy Caspian jizz. Too much of a gonydeal angle (the part of the bill that dips down on the lower mandble nearer to the end, the Caspian doesn't have one.) Lack of pencil mark streakings on the back of the neck, and finally the lack of upright posture (to do with jizz again), Caspians normally have a bold chest and unusual posture compared to other herrings. So now the ID is positively Herring. However, this was still a good bird to "practice" on and prepare you for the legitimate Caspian.

We left different ways after that with David attempting to spot the Black Redstart which he did re-find fortuitously in the car park :) and us walking down the bank towards the sluice gate. Near there we found a pair of Stonechats which are fairly scarce down there, so it was slightly amusing to watch people stare and photogarph it after I pointed them out! A sanderling was the only other interesting bird to see circulating part of the scrape....

From here on in the Bitterns stole the show with humongous booms or whumps from around the reedbeds.

Now I'd like to think my Grandparents for such a magical trip that they shared with me, and to David for being such and excellent guide and great company!

Blogs will soon catch up once these darn mocks are out of the way!!!!

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