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Old Sunday 3rd August 2003, 20:29   #1
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Thumbs up Minsmere


I decided to have a big day out to Minsmere RSPB Reserve today to bolster my month list up a bit before going back to good old Lowestoft & continue my patchwork. Really it is cheating because if I work hard enough most of the passerines will be found on my home turf. However lets have a look at my big bird day.

The reserve in my opinion always has something to offer in the bird line no matter what time of the year you visit. Today was very hot but worthwhile. I arrived at 9am with a light Southeast wind & walked down to the old car park. The bushes around here can hold all sorts of Passerines & by scanning the trees & bramble I was able to hear birds calling or see them in flight.

Migrant warblers like Blackberries & patient searching produced Whitethroat, Garden Warbler & Lesser Whitethroat. The Lesser was always seen briefly whereas the Whitethroat would be quite approachable & would show for much longer. Even the Garden Warbler showed well. A Black cap singing by the Picnic tables made me walk in this direction where I could her the soft phui call followed by the nasal twang associated with this species. But could I get to see one? No way. They seemed to be well hidden in the canopy. Many of the commoner passerines were either seen or heard here but the different species made it most enjoyable. I had spent a good two hours in this little spot so you can see it was very productive. I was amused to see birders walking purposely towards the North Wall & doubly amused at all the birds they were missing.

I turned towards the North Wall & began to scan the short turf to see if any early Wheatears could be seen. Nothing but a couple of Magpies but I was buoyed by gripping views of a Turtle Dove in a dead Elder. Nearby in a Hawthorn I saw a text book immature Lesser Whitethroat with one of the best masks I have ever seen, to the stringer it looked all the world like a Great Grey Shrike! (The Collins guide shows a good immature autumn bird with a much darker mask than the adult.)

Phew it was nearly lunchtime & I had only walked about 600metres in three hours
When I got to the middle of the north wall I managed to hear & briefly see Bearded Tits, followed by a fly over Little Egret & a Curlew! Could it get any better I wondered?

By the time I had got to the end of the wall it was 12pm, time for my lunch back at the shop. I was served by some dithery old fool who seemed to take an age to take my order but I was not to worry as the staff had seen me enter & within five minutes my Cheddar Ploughman’s (which I always have) was placed on table one for my feasting. A little tip here. If you order the Cheddar ploughman’s on a Sunday you get much bigger cheese on your plate because on Monday they buy fresh stuff!
I was disappointed with the onions, as they had only given me on big one so I could not flick any small ones at the dudes.

Ok with lunch over & a cream tea to look forward to at around four I retraced my steps & entered East hide. Pretty poor really with a pair of Shelduck & three young on the scrape & a lone Avocet. A few Common terns were loafing but not really much else.

A thorough search of the bushes along to the sluice & beyond produced no Passerines except three Goldfinches by the Sluice. South Hide was great! A Little Egret, four little Gulls, a fine Summer Golden Plover, A Dunlin & a couple of Spotted Redshank were the notable birds here. The Two Spotted reds were so different. One was in summer plumage, the other in winter plumage. In west hide a good selection of Eclipse duck were seen including Mallard, Teal & Gadwall. A nice Green Sandpiper was seen here along with about ten Black tailed Godwits & a Greenshank. Further out there were a couple of Snipe.

Along south belt on the way to the Bittern Hide I saw a Marsh tit eating Honeysuckle Berries, I have never seen that before but it is recorded as one of their foods (We live & learn) The Bittern Hide produced tow splendid Bitterns in flight & when the hide was replenished by new birders I announced the second bird was coming in to land when of the birders reached over & shook my hand. He had been birding eight years & it was his first Bittern. (Oh I did Blush)
Island Mere was as usual host to many duck including Eclipse Tufted Duck & Pochard. I even managed to find a Ruddy Duck amongst the sleeping duck! A year & month tick. Brilliant. The canopy hide produced Marsh tits on the feeders & a Greater Spotted Woodpecker.

I had an absolutely fantastic day, which swelled my moth list no end concluded by a fine cream tea fresh cream with strawberry Jam.

Total for the day was 72. Notable by their absence were Yellowhammer, Swift, House Martin, and Meadow Pipit. Skylark & House Sparrow.

Colin j
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Old Sunday 3rd August 2003, 20:53   #2
Brian Robson

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Nice Total CJ but im suprised at you week old cheddar must out flick onions in dude supressant harder and more areodynamic
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Old Sunday 3rd August 2003, 21:14   #3
Karl J
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Escellent day there. Pity about the onions .... try the baked beans next time.
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