Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Sandpipers, Spooners, Suppression and Suffolk

Oh fallen behind a bit with the blog. The reason being I'm fallen out of love with birding and have just been staying at home reading romantic novels on Saturday's now.

Actually that's a lie. My computer is poorly, and it usually takes a night to open one web page. Heaven knows how long it will take to write this. So here we are on Tuesday March 14th 1978. Lets see when I manage to post!

There's a dirty year listing competition going on between the St Helen's kid, myself, the dastardly Stalker and we are all trying to catch the Mr Big of year listing again, Tony "Big List" Jackson, with his side kick "Big" Dave. These two are cheating again this year after retiring from work. Unbelievable. Still, its almost half way through the year and we are only 50 behind them.  

Anyway, CJW decided to pop up on Friday 19th May for the Burton Mere Wetlands BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER. He saw it, so where else to go on Saturday than back to BMW so we could see it. My second in Cheshire, and didn't it show well. We even saw one of the Woolston WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW stringers and I was able to mumble something under my breath. The cheating stringers. The now known breeding Cattle Egrets were also visible.

Then it was on to Anglesey for a Welsh tick for two of the party (The St Helen's kid didn't need it because he hasn't got a Welsh list). We headed to the Inland Sea for a SPOONBILL. We searched everywhere for it, but the tide was out, and it was nowhere to be seen. We headed up to Cemlyn for our second attempt at ROSEATE TERN, and again failed, seeing three Meds, Black Guillemots etc. We were rapidly running out of time, and one of the party had to be back early. With a QUAIL calling at Alaw Est, we were drawn back to the Inland Sea again. And there was the Spoonbill spooning away. Fantastic! 

Sunday 21st May we went somewhere and saw something. Someone took the huff. Others didn't. You can't win them all. We'll post the video in December when its all forgotten about.

Westport news for the period - its summer and so I've eight weeks of walking round noting which dog walkers I see and who is missing. Some of those we see do really brighten up your day.

Anyway, Saturday 27th May and a Bank Holiday Saturday. We headed to Suffolk/Norfolk. First stop was Lakenheath. We made the 10km walk out to the small group and there was the Marsh Warbler singing away in the reed bed. It wasn't too windy, and the camera's liked it.

Marsh Warbler at Lakenheath

We carried on along the path for another 10km, all the while looking at the ever darkening skies. We found another group camped out on the path as it was just too far for them to walk in one day. We stood, and the Stalker heard it first. The Savi's Warbler was reeling occasionally, but not too far out into the reed bed. With both warblers in the bag, it was a race back to the visitor centre before the thunder storm came. Strangely, we were the only ones walking back. We passed many walking out along the path, and we wished them good luck, but we knew their fete. We just made it back to the car before the heavens opened. We did see other stuff at Lakenheath as well. There were the obvious loads of Cuckoos and Marsh Harriers, Cetti's and Water Rail, excellent views of Bearded Tits but the next best bird down the list was Bittern. We had four booooming birds and saw two in flight. We seem to be blessed by Bittern sightings this year. We also had two Dragonfly ticks (our third hobby) with a Hairy Dragonfly and a Scarce Chaser. The Hairy Drag didn't seem too hairy, but we're told the Scarce isn't very common.

The rain soon stopped and we saw a Hobby and two Stone-curlew at a secret sight somewhere in Britain. If you want directions, then just send all three of us £50 in cash please.

Final stop was at Strumpshaw Fen. The sun was beating down, but we were told it was too early for us to see our target bird here. We obtained directions from the centre and off we we walked. It was quite a way, and apart from a Hobby and Marsh Harrier it was relatively birdless. Eventually after four hours walking through the reed bed, we reached our target. And they were showing incredibly well. We'd been meaning to see one of these for quite some time, and we were led to believe they weren't easy to see, but when you watched them flying inches in front of you, it was quite something.