Monday, July 03, 2006

East Anglia Holiday - Day 6 pt 1

And so to Minsmere (, the centre of this holiday and our goal of seeing a Bittern. We knew the visitor centre opened at 9am so we arrived shortly afterwards to minimise contact with other humans and with a view to seeing as many birds as possible. The staff were very friendly and helpful and pointed us in the right direction to see our first Bittern...! So we headed out to the Bittern hide. Being impatient we waited for only about 20 minutes before getting itchy feet and heading on. We've found sitting waiting for birds to come to you much less successful than getting out on foot and going to find them.

Between the Bittern and Island Mere hides we got some great views of Marsh Harriers including this one taking off:

We tried the Island Mere hide next and saw our first Little Gulls - two of them darting around on top of the water. There were at least 5 Hobbies and 3 Marsh Harriers visible too - but still no Bittern. We trekked on to the Canopy hide but this was a waste as we didn't see a single bird from this hide so quickly abandoned it and headed back round to the visitors centre and the other circular path.

The West hide had excellent views of some waders, mostly Avocet and lots of Black-headed Gulls, we even saw a gull take a young Mallard chick, fly up with it, and drop it back from about 12 feet high, which wasn't pleasant. Most impressive of all though were the Little Terns, out of camera range but excellent through the scope. Four of them were sat or wandering around on the closest island so we got some excellent views.

The South hide was gulls again and some waders so we headed up to the Sluice where this Barn Swallow was taking a rest from feeding:

In the bushes around the sluice, we spotted this pair of Linnets:

As you can see on this female, the distinctive red of the male is absent:

This Wren was showing well with his tail cocked in the familiar position:


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