Wednesday, 20 April 2016
A Full Day at Minsmere RSPB Reserrve
Monday 18th April Light to fresh NW Cloud built up during day yet dry. Cool 8C with chilly wind.
A Tawny owl is hooting as I cycle along the road through the oak woodland. A cuckoo is cuckooing as I walk up the ramp to the Island Mere hide at 5:00am. It is still, cold and cloudless. Bitterns are booming and water rail are squealing. The Savi's is reeling away again but still a long way away so no chance of views.
Two early morning photographers come into the hide before six, one of whom tells me that I met his wife, Claire last week. Three otters decide to swim across the far left corner of the mere. Two bittern decide to show themselves by flying over the reedbed as marsh harriers sky dance.
Along to the visitors' centre, I go straight past and down to the stone curlew field where a distant bird is standing up on the far side. Another year tick, 213 and a bird that will save my legs from having to cycle to Weeting Heath to see one there. Shame really as I love Weeting Heath and the staff and set up there.
I spend the morning in the North Scrape hide with Robin Harvey, the site manager for the reserve and all-round brilliant birder. With a team of seven wardens, he and others run the Minsmere reserve as well as a couple of nearby RSPB reserves. A little-ringed plover lands nearby and a house martin flies over, Robin's first of the year.
Later in the day, after a meal in the cafe and after publicity photographs for the RSPB Suffolk Twitter feed, I see my first swift of the year speedily flying over the scrape, bird number 214.
I meet Robin again in the evening. He is heading around the scrape and off towards the ruined priory to the south. I can see him birding there as ten whimbrel fly around just behind the south scrape hide before heading off north. Later another group of whimbrel, twenty five of them fly past over the sea, also heading north.
The Green Year list now stands at 214, 30 birds ahead of this time last year.