Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Nov 22nd Minsmere

Sun and wind over Minsmere today
It was a stormy day at Minsmere today. Strong winds of about 40-50mph swept across the reserve. They were so strong that at times it felt like Mum and I could take off into the air at any moment. At least it was sunny.

Woodpigeon
Rabbit
Magpie
Fly Agaric

Blackbird
As it was so blustery, I wasn't surprised that there wasn't that many birds around today. The best place to see them were in the more slightly sheltered spots such as the feeders by the visitor centre and the autumn trail. Trees brimming with berries were everywhere in this temporary trail, perfect for all kinds of birds. Though it was difficult to see some of them clearly amongst the dense branches or even to get close to them without scaring them off, but we did see and hear plenty of species making the most of the fruity feast. Blackbirds were the easiest to see well, but I also managed to spot briefly some bullfinches, redwings, goldfinches, greenfinches, robins and blue tits. On top of that, we also saw a pair of muntjac deer feeding beneath the undergrowth of thick cover under the bushes, which made it impossible to photograph them.

Robin
Stormy scenes at sea
On the beach, the sea looked extremely wild and only the hardiest of sea birds were seen flying over the waves, not that I could ID them without a scope of course. The best I could ID were the cormorants, gannets and gulls. We did manage to spot some small, dark swallow-like birds flying low between the monster-sized waves, but they could be anything from dunlin to storm petrels. There was no sign of the snow buntings that were apparently about somewhere on the shingled beach, but we did get to see a few stonechats hopping from perch to ground to perch again which is always a charming sight to see.

Cormorant
Stonechat
Windswept scenes at the scrapes
The scrapes felt rather empty of bird activity as all the ducks and waders that were there were all busy sheltering from the fierce winds. There were very few birds here that didn't have their heads tucked under their wings. We saw wigeon, shovelers, teal, shelducks, gadwalls, mallards and lapwings and a single distant common snipe. After lunch at the visitor centre, we went to Bittern Hide but only saw a marsh harrier playing in the wind and really bright sunshine. As we made our way back through the woods, we came across two more muntjac deer. This time there were less vegetation in the way to take some photos of them.

Mallards sheltering from the wind
Shelduck
Muntjac Deer

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