Thursday, 10 June 2010

Norfolk 2010 – Day 5 the 2nd of June – Hail to that Nightingale

A nice early start to the day as it was a long drive from our digs to Minsmere. We had just left the accommodation and the roads where really quiet and whilst looking at all pigeons and doves we had 1 Turtle Dove briefly before it flew over the trees and away, we nearly missed it so we didn’t have that good views especially as the car was going about 50mph. Our first stop of the day was at Dunwich Heath which just outside of Minsmere and is where the Dartford Warblers can be seen, we saw quite a few Dartford Warblers and I had fantastic views of the birds and it was also really nice to hear and see the Dartford’s singing there heads off. I also spotted a flyover Hobby and a Little Egret was seen flying over the reserve. After we had fantastic views of the Dartford Warblers we headed off to Minsmere itself. When we arrived we met up with some other local lads who had arrived on the reserve who we knew from Durham Bird Club, we then headed for the Bittern hide and had a fantastic view of a Bittern sitting out into the open in front of the hide. I also had good views of another Bittern in flight over the reed beds, I also saw a Hobby briefly as it flew out into view from the right hand side of the hide. From here we headed off around the reserve where we were treated to fantastic views of a family of young Cetti’s Warbler as well as a cracking bins view of an adult Cetti’s briefly before it disappeared into the undergrowth. We had good views of 2 Mediterranean Gulls whilst walking around the hides. We also heard a Marsh Warbler and me and another DBC friend thought we saw it, however we couldn’t say with 100% certainty it was a Marsh but it was highly likely on views we did have.

I met Stew half way through the day and he said he had good views of the Purple Heron from the Island Mere Hide and so I rushed up and there was no sign of it sitting in the reeds. The local Marsh Harriers were showing superbly and they appeared to put up a local Grey Heron. This prompted me to scan the reedbed for flying birds and I was rewarded with about a 5-10 second view of the Purple Heron in flight right in the distance over the reed bed. Very soon after I realised it wasn’t going to come back up I made notes about what I had seen to assure myself and to check it was the Purple Heron I had brief views of. My notes went something like this:
- Not a Grey Heron or Bittern as I had experience that day with both species in flight.
-Ruby/Rusty brown back with large black trailing edges to the wings.
- Wings were bowed (not a note I had at the time)

I was then convinced it was a Purple Heron, just goes to show how studying common birds pays off. I doubt that if I hadn’t much experience with the commoner species I wouldn’t have been able to ID to Purple Heron as quick as I did. I found it quite humorous as this is similar to what went through my head: “Not Grey Heron….not Bittern…not Marsh Harrier….(colour of bird) PURPLE HERON!” After this excitement I tried to twitch a Spoonbill on the reserve and pretty much failed. I think I saw it but when I looked at it in the bins didn’t make absolute sure it was one and rushed to the hide and it had disappeared. After this really disappointing dip on the Spoonbill I found the other two lads I was with and they said a Nightingale has been showing ridiculously well and close. The Finch showed me the pictures and I was gutted to see how good views he got and I was sure I wasn’t going to see the bird. However I went back and stood and a bird came wising past and it was a lovely golden brown colour. It was moving around in the undergrowth and I got a good view and it was the Nightingale! Fantastic, I thought! Then it got closer……….and closer…….and then sat on the trees in front of me in full view not concealed at all and then on the road about 10ft from my feet. I couldn’t believe it, surely once in a life time! I left the bird in peace as it was clear it was breeding near by, I brought my friend to see it and it showed well again but then we left it in total peace.

(Bittern - Andrew Kinghorn)

(Dartford Warbler - Derek Charlton)

(Two of the young Cetti's Warblers - Derek Charlton)

(Nightingale - Derek Charlton)

(Nightingale - Derek Charlton)

(Nightingale - Derek Charlton)

Life List Updates
245 – Turtle Dove
246 – Dartford Warbler
247 – Purple Heron
248 – Nightingale

Year List Updates
203 – Turtle Dove
204 – Dartford Warbler
205 – Purple Heron
206 – Nightingale

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you're having a fantastic birding adventure. I'm jealous!