On Saturday our group visited Minsmere RSPB reserve in Suffolk. A really smooth coach journey and nice sunny weather set us up for a great day. On arrival the group seemed to explode in all directions – some going straight to the Island Mere hide in search of Savi’s warbler, some to the reed bed hoping to see bitterns while others headed for the sea. The latter was my preferred route but it took us over an hour to walk just a few hundred metres. On the way, of course, we saw bearded tits, bittern, five species of warbler, egrets and herons and we were followed, overhead, by calling mediterranean gulls!
The scrape was very busy and noisy – mainly due to the large colony of black headed gulls, but they had good support from common and sandwich terns and, of course, the avocets. Some of the group saw kittiwake while others were shown a 2nd year caspian gull standing next to marker post “0”. But to be honest once it had moved it became lost among the herring and lesser black backed gulls! A large group of black tailed godwits was of interest and a knot was spotted by a keen-eyed Irene. But why were these birds at Minsmere and not on their breeding grounds?
After lunch on the beach, we completed our tour of the scrape with beautiful views of the nesting mediterranean gulls. One of the benefits of the circular trails at Minsmere is that we continually bumped into group members doing the trail in the opposite direction. Thus we gradually built up a list of birds to look forward to. So, it was on to the Bittern hide to see errr.. a bittern. When it duly arrived it was greeted by a loud cheer and a spontaneous round of applause – I almost expected it to stand on top of the reeds and give an extravagant bow!
As I have said before, I always like to choose my highlight of the day. If I had been one of those who heard the Savi’s warbler then that would have been my first choice. If I had seen or heard the marsh warbler that would have been the highlight. If I had seen the white admiral butterfly (thanks to Sharon for showing me the picture), or the hobby or the cuckoo or the ringed plover chicks on the beach, they would all have been up there. But I did really enjoy the redshank that sat on the roof of the hide or nearby on a post, shouting it’s head off – probably because one of it’s brood had wandered too close to the hide
Thanks to everyone that joined us – between us we saw 82 species of bird. I hope you all enjoyed the trip. Thanks to Roy and Sally for the photographs and, of course, thanks to Sally for her excellent organisation of the day.