Thursday 21 April 2016

Another Sunny Day at Minsmere RSPB Reserve

Thursday 21st April fresh NE Very sunny all day. Slightly warmer at 10C

I decide to walk down to the Sizewell Nuclear power station after a lovely bright sunrise. The wind is still north easterly and cool at 6:00am. It interests me how the high cirrus clouds are heading north, albeit slowly.
A kingfisher lands on a post near to the scrape and bearded tits pink their way between reedbeds. The former bird proves difficult to photograph through the reeds and is soon off.

With still no news on any new bird for the year list anywhere nearby and the ones that are will be easy to get later, it seems only sensible to explore all areas of Minsmere. The low dunes and sandy pathway with low hairy birch, willow and oak with sporadic pines look good for any migrant warblers and indeed there is a lesser whitethroat to add to the year list, 217. Look carefully because a dog came barking and off it flew.

Lying in my sleeping bag the previous night, instead of counting sheep I counted regular occurring birds that I still need. I made it fifty. That means I would need thirty four rarities, one a week. I will take that at this time of year.
A text from 'The Oracle,' Phil Andrews asks whether I am up to cycling to Bedfordshire to see white stork and the sole Lady Amhurst's pheasant. “Of course I am,” I reply “but only if the white stork isn't plastic.” I bird on not too confident that the stork will be a real wild bird. There is a greenshank on Lucky Pool and three brent geese head north along the beach.
After searching for but not finding the rare whorl snails near the Minsmere sluice it is rather strange to see a fulmar coming from over the scrape. It heads out to where one would expect to see it,over the sea.

From the elevated position of the sea wall path I can see over the scrape and notice a large peregrine tucking in to a large prey item. I go to the public platform and get great views of it despite heat haze and distance.
There are a number of waders close to the feeding bird; black and bar-tailed godwits and dunlin. All of them must be thinking that the peregrine will be some time eating and so in the meantime they feel safe.

Walking back towards the north walk four whimbrel come down the beach. Three carry on towards Lucky Pool. The other one turns and heads north.
Bearded tits show as I walk towards the visitors' centre and the sand martins are tazzing around the sandstone cliff as I go towards the cafe. Once inside one of the staff, Doreen gives me a cheese scone. Delicious and it went well with fruit crumble and custard. Maggie, another cafe worker comes over and chats about her twenty years of playing the French horn in the North Opera orchestra. RSPB attracts volunteers from all walks of life, wonderful people.

The Green Year list now stands at 217, still 29 birds ahead of this time last year.

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