Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Year's birding

Woke up to find the weather forecast of bright sunshine hadn't come true with dull, grey overcast conditions, but a Lesser Redpoll on the nyger feeder in the garden brightened things up whilst I had my breakfast.
Needing to visit Minsmere, I took a detour to go via Upper Hollesley Common where the Great Grey Shrike showed briefly and rather distantly and a couple of Crossbills flew overhead, certainly not worth getting the camera out for.  After another short detour for a quick look at North Warren produced a few White-fronted Geese, but no Beans with them, I finally got to Minsmere.
By now, the grey had turned even duller, so I didn't even bother lugging the camera round and just went for a stroll around the reserve.  The Scrape had its usual Teal and Wigeon masses, with a couple of Whooper Swans and a single Avocet about the most interesting birds present, whilst the neighbouring reedbed held singing Cetti's Warblers and pinging Bearded Tits.  The bay from Walberswick to Aldebrough holds one of the highest concentrations of Red-throated Divers in the UK, and watching the sea for a few minutes you can see why with many divers on the sea with countless more streaming past and also a lot of Great Crested Grebes on the sea too.  Nearby, the Levels which run south from Minsmere reserve to Sizewell had a good assortment of geese, but again no Bean Geese could be found amongst the White-fronts, Barnacles and single Brent present.  One new feature of the reseve is the recently opened Island Mere Hide, which is a far cry from the previous hide from where I used to carry out 6 hour Bittern watches from in my time working here.  Thankfully this new hide isn't an eyesore like the new hide monstrosity at Titchwell, though quite why there are swivel chairs in a hide instead of the usual benches is anybodies guess.  Unfortunately only a few Marsh Harriers and a murmuration of Starlings provided any interest late afternoon, and as the rain set in for the evening, that signalled the end of a quite enjoyable day on the Suffolk coast.

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