Monday, 3 October 2016

Oct 3rd Minsmere

Red Admiral
Autumn at Minsmere. A promising time of year for rare migrants, rutting deer and autumnal colours. None of that was true today, to my disappointment. It turned out to be a rather quiet visit. At first, it seemed like most of the birds had already left the reserve on migration or something. Even the few birds we could hear kept themselves hidden within the thick bushes full to the brim with berries, from blackberries to hawthorns. It seemed even these delectables were unable to bring the birds out into the open. They were to eat them while undercover instead. At least the butterflies weren't as shy. The red admirals especially were busy gorging on these juicy offerings grown by these bushes. With a long winter in torpor (the insect equivalent of hibernation), it is important for them to fuel up.



Parasol Toadstools (I think)



Common Darter
Red Deer
Out on the open rabbit-infested field where the stone-curlews were nesting during Springwatch this year, we spot a single red deer hind (female) grazing on the vegetation at the back of the field. Shortly after spotting her, she soon moved on and disappeared amongst the same vegetation she was grazing on. Walking on down towards the beach, the landscape became quiet and empty once again. Even the sea was almost empty of life except for a few gulls flying high over the waves, which roll against the shore in a mesmerising way with a calming roar against the shingle beach. A male kestrel hovers nearby behind us before it too vanishes out of sight like everything else today.

Waves at the beach at Minsmere
Herring Gull
Kestrel

Snipe
At East Hide, the scrapes provided us with a better selection of birds to look at. Though most of it was dominated with teal, gadwall and shovelers, there were a few other things about to see. There were few waders around than usual and they were mostly on the far side of the scrapes, but I did see a few godwits, lapwings and snipes, including one right in front of the hide. I think there were also a few spotted redshanks huddling with some of the godwits, but it was hard to tell if they were or not as they hid their heads within their wings for a snooze.

Shoveler and Teal
Shoveler
Black-tailed Godwit with what I think are Spotted Redshanks
Canada Goose
Shoveler and Dunlin
Wigeon

Magpie
After lunch back at the visitor centre with the local magpies, we walked across the hill past the Springwatch HQ building to the Island Mere Hide. Mum was happy here as she saw about four marsh harriers soaring together over the reed beds and shrubs. Seeing a marsh harrier always completes an outing for her. For me however, I'm always happy to include more to my day. There's always more to add if you know what your looking at. From Island Mere Hide, there were herons, cormorants, mute swans and a fleeting glimpse of a small flock of bearded tits and then to top it all off, at Bittern Hide there was a kingfisher making an appearance. Unfortunately, it was not as obliging to pose for a photo as it perched itself onto a reed stem that bowed under it's weight behind a cover of more reeds.

Marsh Harrier
Marsh Harrier with Carrion Crows
Grey Heron
Cormorants

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