Saturday, April 10, 2010

Easter 2010 - Thursday April 8th

Minsmere when it first opens and is still reasonably quiet is my favourite place for bird watching. Admittedly these aren't birds but watching the deer grazing in early morning light when all you can hear is birdsong (there is a big buffer of land around Minsmere which makes it rare that the sound of gunfire from the ongoing 'War on Nature' carries into the reserve):

A Cetti's Warbler sang (it's distant so you'll need the speakers up a bit):
video
The Bitterns were booming too but alas my camera wasn't sensitive enough to pick that up, still a fantastic sound and indeed experience.
We moved from the Bittern Hide to the Island Mere hide. A Little Grebe was feeding out front:
A pair of Tufted Ducks mooched around. Note how the drakes' head plumage is actually purple, not black:
If you look really closely at this picture you can just make out the Bittern that teased everyone in the hide by staying just behind the screen of reeds:

We headed back toward the visitor centre, encountering our first Sedge Warbler of the year:

and then headed around the loop of hides overlooking the scrape. From the East Hide, a Mediterranean Gull adopted a slightly raised perch before displaying:



Black-headed Gulls are sometimes unpopular due to their abundance. They were certainly present in large numbers and being very noisy, however their pair-bonding displays are good to watch:



I'm actually quite pleased with that picture, I believe it merits a closer look (click on it to do so).
From Minsmere we headed up to Dunwich Heath to spot Dartford Wablers, which we did:

and then for a walk around the extended National Trust lands, including the recently purchased Mount Pleasant Farm. We were delighted on this walk to encounter a female Black Redstart:


The weather had been good all day and with some great birding and good exercise under our belts we retired for the evening.

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