Monday, 18 September 2017

Sep 18th Minsmere

Marsh Tit and Goldfinch
Despite the news of some exciting rare birds turning up along the north Norfolk coastline over the weekend, including a Pallas's grasshopper warbler, a lanceolated warbler and an Arctic warbler to name just a few, Mum and I decided to go to Minsmere instead. Minsmere usually has a rare bird or two at this time of year anyway and today, a red-necked phalarope was written up on the board. Not quite a 'mega' like any of the warblers I mentioned up in Norfolk, but still a great bird to try and see nonetheless. This individual was a very mobile juvenile and seemed to be always two steps ahead of me, as it kept moving to another part of the reserve before I could even catch up with it. So in the end, I failed to see it.

Juvenile Goldfinch

Blue Tit
Konik Pony
It was a bit of a mixed bag today. It was mostly sunny, but with a couple of torrential showers that had us caught out by surprise. We were making our way to the East Hide after seeing Konik ponies and Highland cattle at North Hide, when the first shower hit while we were walking along the beach. Thankfully, Mum had packed a pair of waterproof ponchos with us and though it made me look like some strange Ringwraith-like creature, it kept us and my camera dry for the most part. When we eventually got to East Hide, we waited for the rain to pass over. It was quite packed in the hide. I guess most of these people either had the same idea of sheltering from the heavy deluge or they were twitchers hoping to spot the phalarope. It wasn't here of course, but there were plenty of wildfowl including feral barnacle geese, wigeon, shovelers, gadwall and teal as well as a few avocets, godwits, dunlin and ringed plover dotted across the scrapes.

Highland Cow
Feral Domestic Geese
Barnacle Geese
Ringed Plover
Black-tailed Godwit
The sun did return, indicating for us to continue our fruitless search for the phalarope, visiting the other hides around the scrapes. Along the way, I also tried to scan the vegetation along the dunes and past the sluice gates for wasp spiders. Annoyingly, I failed on finding these, too! There were spiders everywhere but not the ones I was looking for. I did see a common blue butterfly and, from the South Hide, there were a few spotted redshanks. While making our way back to the visitor centre, a small flock of bearded tits flew deep into a reed bed close to us and I also managed to hear a kingfisher peeping away somewhere beyond the cover of tall reeds blocking our view.
Common Blue
Spotted Redshank
Little Egret
Common Darter
After lunch, we made a visit to Bittern Hide just in time before the second downpour of the day arrived. No need for the ponchos on this occasion. We had to wait for it to pass by yet again, but this time there was entertainment in the form of hobbies. About 3-4 of these speedy falcons swooped past the front of the hide, grabbing the odd juicy dragonfly while on the wing in the process. They were flying so close, that we thought that they were going to fly inside the hide! This had everyone gripped and excited every time one zoomed by. Then the marsh harriers decided to join in this air show of raptors and at least two of them soared above the reed beds. Once the rain cleared, we made a brief stop at Island Mere Hide, where the phalarope was apparently now at, but it was not there when we arrived. Who cares! Watching a display of hunting hobbies in the rain was ten times more rewarding in my opinion.


Marsh Harrier

Parasol Toadstool

Small Copper

Not Sure