Sunday, 10 June 2018

June 10th Weeting Heath and Lakenheath Fen

Today, my parents decided to take me out to Norfolk/Suffolk border for what ended up being a pleasant day trip. First up was a visit to Weeting Heath for a chance of seeing a stone curlew. Amazingly, I managed to spot one after two minutes inside the East Hide. However, it was a long way off and a heat haze made it hard to photograph, but that bird-shaped blob you can see is indeed a stone curlew. In fact, there were two as they were at their nest site. I say nest site, as it is more or less a shallow impression in the ground. When they're not sitting on the eggs/chicks and blending incredibly well with the long grass, they would pop up for everyone to see them every now and then. It was great to see them whenever they stood up, but if only they were much closer to the hide.
Stone Curlew
Mum at the hide with the feeders (before the crowds arrived)
To begin with, I was the only one at the hide, but it soon became crowded. So I moved on to the next hide with my mum where the feeders and a puddle was attracting many young birds as well as goldfinches, nuthatches, a female blackcap and a couple of yellowhammers (that were too obscured by the long grass to photograph). Annoyingly though, we weren't at the hide alone for long, as the crowd from the East Hide came to join us for some reason instead. They pretty much took over. One idiot even placed his camera on my mum's shoulder to steady his shots without her permission. Though I have no problem with sharing the hide with people to enjoy the views of birds, but when it gets packed, I feel that some people need to learn on how to be considerate to others that are using a hide.
Great Tit
Young Blue Tit
Young Coal Tit
Marsh Tit
Female Blackcap
Speckled Wood
Lakenheath Fen
It was time to move on to Lakenheath Fen, where enjoyed a picnic with whitethroats singing from the trees nearby. Once lunch was over, Dad and I went for a long walk around the reserve, while Mum stayed behind at the visitor centre as her leg was playing up and couldn't walk much on it. The reserve was as busy as at Weeting Heath and the only hide was extremely packed due to regular sightings of bitterns being reported from there. It was so packed that we couldn't find a seat to view out of the hide, so we had to give it a miss. Thankfully, we didn't really needed the hide to see a bittern ourselves as we saw one flying over the reed beds and pools after the first viewpoint shelter on the way to this hide. It was a bit distant and quick for photos as it made its way from right to left before plunging down into the reeds close to the edge of a poplar wood. It was a brief sighting, but it beats having to fight for a seat inside that crowded hide.
A large Water Boatman?
Mating Damselflies
Viper's Bugloss
Tufted Duck
Little Ouse River
Red-eyed Damselfly
Four-spot Chaser
Reed Warbler
Mute Swan on nest

During our walk, we also heard a few cuckoos (even a couple of bubbling calls from the females) and saw a marsh harrier, a kestrel (but no hobbies), reed warblers, reed buntings and many dragonflies and damselflies. When we returned to the visitor centre, we were treated with kingfisher posing on a post at the pond that we could see from the windows while enjoying an ice cream. You could say that the kingfisher was like the cherry to put on top of that ice cream.

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