Friday, 11 September 2009

Minsmere RSPB

During my reason trip to Norfolk I decided to head further south to Suffolk and to Minsmere RSPB reserve. A little off the beaten track to say the least, I was pleasently surprised at what I found. Typical of similar reserves it nestles away but, tardis like, it has a shop, cafe and toilet facilities.

Unfortunately like all other reserves it is between seasons and there wasn't a lot to see. It was also suffering from a lack of rain, not something that we further over to the West can complain of. However if Minsmere is suffering of anything it is suffering with an explosion of Rabbits. They are everywhere, literally under feet. I believe the problem is being addressed but unfortunately this means myxamatosis. I recall commenting on this before. I dislike the disease immensely, It seems a very cruel way to kill something off. However unless a better way can be found then I accept it is a necessary evil.

I did see the following, can anyone help me identify these two first birds. I believe that this is a Juv Willow Warbler.

This second I believe is a Juv Chiff chaff.

There was quite a fuss being made in the car park, there were Flycatchers to be seen. Both Spotted and Pied were seen. I believe this is a Juv Pied. Am I correct?

Now one of the species I was hoping to see was the Kingfisher, there were reports on the information boards that sightings at the sluice were common over the previous day or two.
I trudged down to the sluice, the furthest point from the centre and upon my arrival the weather which had been overcast turned worse and rain started to fall. It was light but not what I had wanted. Fortunately it didn't last for long.
Whilst waiting I met a gentleman called Jon Evans, a volunteer at the reserve, and also a keen photographer. He was very forthcoming with information about the reserve and what I could expect to see and where. He had seen the Kingfisher fleetingly some minutes previously. I was not aware beforehand but I am now that Jon occasionally contributes to Birdguides website, I have checked out some of his offerings and would suggest they are well worth a look.

Jon moved on in search of Whinchat, which he got. I hung around for a while, determined to give the Kingfisher chance to visit. I contented myself with pictures of Juv Swallows perching on a wall and being fed by the adults occasionally. I then saw a flash and the Kingfisher landed a short way infront of me. It paused for literally a second and then took off again. I managed to grab this shot. It was taken through tall grass, as you can see. Not bad for a true grab shot though.

The Swallows were not looking great but I have included this shot of one.

Back at the car park, I saw the above Deer and its calf. I believe that there are quite a few of these around too.
I was advised that there were sightings of Bittern and Hobby during the day, I didn't get to see them despite visiting every hide but one, the canopy hide. If I may just take this opportunity to say that on the whole I was very impressed by the hides at Minsmere, they were spacious and in a few cases on two levels, a top layer for twitchers and a lower floor for photgraphers, there was ample room in most of the hides for large lenses.
I will return. I think it would be worth it.
I couldn't finish without a picture of the scourge of the reserve. I still think that Rabbits are lovely little critters.

Water Voles and babies in the next posting.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Norfolk Pictures

Here are some of the pics from Norfolk hope you like them. I had a great few days down there, I added quite a few birds to my yearly list and a few to my lifetime list such as Ortolan Bunting, Curlew Sandpiper, Stone Curlew, and Whimbrel.

I loved the Dunlin, seen lots but never photographed any that were this close.

A lifetime first this Ortolan Bunting was a great opportunity for me and lots of others that day, One chap I spoke to had travelled for 1.5hrs by bus from Hunstanton just to tick it as a Norfolk first. He didn't even take a picture, Twitchers are mad.

On the one day the area infront of one of the hides at Cley was very busy, but two days later nothing. Guess it's about time and place. This Green Sandpiper was very obliging.

This is a Common Sandpiper.

Three Bar Tailed Godwit were seen on the same day as the Ortolan Bunting. Here's one of them.

The Marsh Harriers were coming within range, to a degree.

This Little Ringed Plover looked thoroughly peeved at my intrusion.

I have nearly 1000 shots to go through so there may be more to follow. Watch this space.