Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Diary Update #25 2017

⛅ ☔ Monday 24th April 2017 ~ With the Wildlife Trust's minibus becoming less available to the team we reverted back to the old ways for the Brandon Marsh Volunteer 'Away-Days' and packed everyone in to three separate cars, our first stop Paxton Pits Nature Reserve Cambridgeshire. Two Red Kites on route and the traffic remarkably good for the journey.

Nightingale ~ Paxton Pits
Target bird for this particular site was the Nightingale and within a half hour of arriving we stood in awe watching one of these normally secretive birds perched high in the hawthorn singing his heart out! While enjoying this spectacle a Lesser Whitethroat, another secretive and hard to find species was also entertaining us nearby with his distinct song and although not as accommodating as the Nightingale offered the odd glimpse. We took a circular route around the Heronry Lakes, passing for a short while along the River Ouse. The lakes currently have a large nesting colony of Cormorant and an impressive count of 24 Common Terns was also recorded, along with the usual warblers and Hirundines. At least two Cuckoo and a second Nightingale before heading off.

Record shot of Stone Curlew ~ Cavernham Heath
From here on to Cavernham Heath National Nature Reserve, a stunning SSSI habitat of heathland and woodland near the village of Tuddenham in Suffolk. More target species here, this time Woodlark and Stone Curlew.

Wood Lark ~ One of several today at Cavernham Heath
After parking up we walked the track that runs up as far as the River Lark. It's not long before your scanning for Stone Curlew and listening for Woodlark and while doing so we picked up other species including Grey Partridge, Red-legged Partridge and many Skylark.

Woodlark
However, todays target species were found  in the same locality as each other and we enjoyed lunch while watching Stone Curlew and listening to singing Woodlarks, both offering some excellent views. Wheatear, Yellowhammer and at least a half dozen Stonechat by the time we returned to the car and on to RSPB Lakenheath Fen. Well I say WE on to Lakenheath but only in my car with Alan, Geoff and Kevin, the other lightweights heading off home 😉

Boeing V22 Osprey ~ Indulging my 2nd passion!
Lakenheath was actually quite chilly with the predicted cold front moving in, a strong breeze had also developed and we had to brave the odd downpour. It was worth the effort though recording two pairs of Marsh Harrier, more Cuckoo's and a single Glossy Ibis.  Waders included: Black-tailed Godwit, RedshankOystercatcher and Bittern were heard booming on two occasions!