Wednesday, 24 April 2013

A Reserve First!

Not a new bird, but a new reserve for me this weekend; RSPB Minsmere in Suffolk. It was a glorious weekend and I can whole-heartedly recommend a visit! As the weather was spring-like, so were the birds, with Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff and Sedge Warbler all present and in full voice. Some rather more unusual spring sounds were heard in the form of squealing Water Rails, a singing Nightingale and booming Bitterns, the latter of which seemed to be present all day and with the boom capable of travelling over 5 km audible wherever you are on the reserve. Not only were the Bitterns noisy, they were also visible, and I was awarded cracking views on two occasions; one evening was spent watching an individual hunting for around 20 minutes, never further than 30 metres away!

Eurasian Bittern, Botaurus stellaris

Eurasian Bittern, Botaurus stellaris

Continuing further with the spring theme, Bumblebees were out in force and these Great Crested Grebes were beginning their elaborate mating ritual.

Bumblebee, Bombus spp.

Great Crested Grebes courting, Podiceps cristatus

There were also plenty of passing migrants around with Arctic Tern, this sub-adult plumage Little Gull, two Spoonbill and a Ferruginous Duck all present on the Saturday.

A pair of Spoonbill, Platalea leucorodia

Little Gull, Hydrocoloeus minutus, with Black-headed Gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus for comparison

Ferruginous Duck, Aythya nyroca

What a weekend, I left with the feeling that spring had well and truly been welcomed in, and I couldn't wait to get back to the patch and see what had happened while I had been away!

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