Friday, 27 May 2011

25-5-11, Paxton Pits NR

I had a week off work however I had to pop in on Tuesday afternoon to attend a training session but Wednesday morning, very early, I was on the way to Cambridgeshire before having a couple of days in North Norfolk. Paxton Pits was my early destination for one thing only, and a very shameful one thing too. I have never seen a Nightingale before, heard them but not seen them. A bit embarrising really but I have just never been anywhere where they existed before. On arrival I was quite excited at finally nailing the bird and I was told I would definately see one here. I headed along the path and immediately heard two sing but couldnt see anything. Then I arrived at a rustic fence which was to prevent people walking around the bushes where the Nightingales favoured. I hung around for about half an hour but no sign. Was I going to dip this bird? The shame. Nothing was showing and the singing had stopped so I headed on along the path. Good idea. In a small gap three NIGHTINGALES were chasing each other for half a minute before flying off. Walking further on and I soon realised there were Nighingales everywhere and I even managed to get a record photo too, great fun. Other birds noted were Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Dunnock, Black Headed Gull, Cormorant, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Bullfinch, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Wren, Long-tailed Tit, Mallard, Mute Swan, Song Thrush, Robin, Green Woodpecker, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Gadwall, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Common Tern, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, Jackdaw, Great Tit, Rook, Blue Tit, Tufted Duck and Collared Dove.

Weeting Heath.

Next site was about three quarters along the road however my timing was awful and it took about two hours with the morning rush hour traffic around Cambridge. As most will know, Weeting Heath is one of or the best sites to see Stone Curlew and having only ever seen one at Marsh lane NR on the 5th of May, 2007 I wanted to see one on its breeding ground. On arrival there was no-one around and just guessed on going to the hide to the right of the centre. Only a couple of minutes in the hide and a Stone Curlew was in the distance and in the heat haze, no photo oppurtunities here. Other birds noted were Chiffchaff, Carrion Crow, Coal Tit, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Pied Wagtail, Rook, Lapwing, Mistle Thrush and Woodpigeon.

Lakenheath RSPB.

Just down the road is Lakenheath RSPB reserve, home to the Golden Oriole. I came here in July 2007and saw my first one bringing food to the nest. From the car park I headced along the river to the back of the reserve before walking back down the track through the middle hoping for any sight or sound of the Orioles. Birds noted were Chaffinch, Shelduck, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Mute Swan, Coot, Mallard, Cuckoo, Garganey, Wigeon, Gadwall, Carrion Crow, Tufted Duck, Woodpigeon, Blue Tit, Wren, Pheasant, Black Headed Gull, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Skylark, Hobby, Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Egyptian Geese, Cormorant, Chiffchaff, Canada Geese, Swift, Blackcap, Bittern and Great Spotted Woodpecker. No Orioles but a male was doing his contact calls through the poplars. I hung around for about an hour to see if the bird showed but with no success but fun listening to the calls.

Great Ryburgh.

Another bird I have never seen is a Honey Buzzard, well apart from a bird I saw at Flamborough Head a few years ago when I saw the back end of a bird flying away being mobbed by other birds, Buzzard size with flat wings. I got on it before it glided out of view and couldnt make a positive identification but I was sure, from the jiss, that it was a Honey Buzzard but not sure enough to claim it. Great Ryburgh is a raptor watchpoint, and very good for Honey Buzzards. It was early afternoon so I decided to hang around for a couple of hours here. Birds noted were Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Gadwall over, Common Whitethroat, Yellowhammer, Lapwing, Greylag Geese, Pheasant, Wren, Rook, Greenfinch, Swallow, Cuckoo, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Black Headed Gull, Skylark, Grey Heron, Egyptian Geese, Swift, Marsh Harrier and Lesser Black-backed Gull. No show on the Honey Buzzard front but not expecting to see one so not too bothered.

Stiffkey Marsh

It was late afternoon and I was tired now after an early start so I had a walk along the marshes at Stiffkey, not expecting much but you never know. Birds noted were Black Headed Gull, Woodpigeon, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Jackdaw, Wren, Blackbird, Dunnock, Redshank, Herring Gull, Blue Tit, Lapwing, Pied Wagtail, Shelduck, Little Egret, Chaffinch, Mallard, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Pheasant, Meadow Pipit, Oystercatcher, Linnet, Chiffchaff, Avocet, Common Whitethroat, Skylark, Red-legged Partridge, Greylag Geese, Reed Bunting, Great Tit, Swallow and Greenfinch.

Stiffkey Fen.

Last site of the day and I decided to pop down to the fen just down the road from the marshes. Birds noted were Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Oystercatcher, Chiffchaff, Avocet, Black Headed Gull, Shelduck, Mallard, Jay, Cettis Warbler, Redshank, Moorhen, Wigeon, Ringed Plover, Woodpigeon, Garden Warbler, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Common Tern, Pied Wagtail, Greylag Geese, Lapwing, House Martin, Sedge Warbler and Yellowhammer.

A great day out, very long but lots of birds. Time for some Woodfordes Werry.

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