Although not a migration hotspot by any means, the Nunnery Lakes Reserve is still a nice place to spend a few hours wandering around on a sunny spring morning, and you never know when something out of the ordinary may appear, and today was one of those days.
Whilst trying to photograph a Nightingale which was found last week and was singing well, both Dave Leech (who probably had his head in a bush looking for a nest) and I heard the distinctive song of a male Firecrest, which despite there being a healthy population in Thetford Forest are very scarce visitors to the reserve. After a short search, we located it high in a pine tree where we had good views. The troops were rallied and once Nick arrived, we relocated the bird where it showed superbly, much lower down, and despite its constant movement, did allow me to get a good series of photos.
Once we had all had our fill of the Firecrest and went our separate ways, I resumed my quest for the Nightingale, and was amazed when a Long-eared Owl flushed from virtually under my feet! I phoned Nick who was leaving the site, but quickly made a u-turn and after a search, the bird again flew up from the ground and showed well flying across the lake before dropping again, where we left it in peace. In flight it seemed to dangle its right leg, which may explain why the bird favoured the ground rather than perching up in a tree.
I couldn't find yesterday's Whinchat which had been seen earlier, but with 4 Crossbill flying over, singing Garden, Reed, Sedge and Willow Warblers and lots of hirundines around, it was a memorable morning nevertheless.