We headed left and visited the hides to the left of the visitor centre. We had our lunch in the first hide before DC collapsed due to hunger. Whilst in the hide we picked up the only Goldeneye of the day, Gadwall, Shoveler, Snipe, a very distant Marsh Harrier, Carrion Crow, Teal, Mallard, Reed Bunting, loads of Snipe, Wigeon and a Shelduck.
The next hide was pretty devoid of birds apart from Teal, Mallard, and Coot. A drake Pintail flew over! That was the only one I saw all day so that was nice. Then the final hide added Greylag Goose to our list (well not really as I had a fly over from the first hide but still it makes the walk look as if it was worthwhile), we also added Stock Dove to the day list. Waders where few and far between yesterday I am afraid but that doesn’t really matter.
We then headed back toward the entrance and made out way down the right hand side hides from the reception hide. We stayed for the raptor roost and we where not disappointed. I soon picked up a Barn Owl and alerted others in the hide and we watched it as it flew around the reed bed. Then shortly after I looked straight out and there was a different barn owl! So I had 2 Barn Owls at once and it was still light, we got fantastic views of them as they flew back and forth. One of the Barn Owls was flying around the hide really close. Then at one point they both sat in the tree together. The first Barn Owl was quartering the reed bed and it flushed up a Fieldfare and later a few Meadow Pipits. Later on into the roost Andrew-Graham Raine was trying to get a video through the hide window (which was shut) the quartering Barn Own was heading straight for the window and the hide, then DC’s humour kicked in and whilst looking at the owl he calmly and friendly said “Howay’ in” haha I started laughing my head of (quietly). It was literally 3ft of Andrew and DC and headed for the hide windows. Andrew actually moved as I think he thought it was going to hit the window and actually try to come in. It then soon flew right in front of the hide looking at us to see what we where doing. We had 1 male Marsh Harrier come into roost and about 10-12 cream crown Marsh Harriers. Sadly no Hen Harrier or Merlin, oh well not to worry. It was a fantastic day and I really enjoyed myself.
Year List updates:
104 – Red Kite
105 – Marsh Harrier
106 – Meadow Pipit
Other birds seen where a Bittern just before we left, and 2 Dunlin we missed (Only DC had these 2) They would have both been year ticks for me, oh well.
(Marsh Harrier - Blacktoft Sands - Derek Charlton)
(Barn Owl - Blacktoft Sands RSPB - Derek Charlton)