19th May 2012 - Minsmere
I picked up my clients a couple new to birding from their home in south-east London we headed off to the Suffolk coast for the day. Our first stop was Westleton Heath where a walk around the heath produced Common Chaffinch, a variety of tits, Willow Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Yellowhammer and a fly-over flock of Red Crossbill. A fleeting glimpse was caught of Dartford Warbler, but it then took to skulking and calling from the thick heather. Common Cuckoo and European Turtle Dove also eluded us though both were heard calling. Rather surprisingly, no Common Nightingale were heard at this site.
We then went on to the RSPB reserve at Minsmere. As usual this reserve did not disappoint, though we could not locate the pair of Stone Curlew that were apparently ‘visible’ from the main path. However, other waders were well-represented with Pied Avocet, Grey (Black-bellied) Plover, Dunlin, Common Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Sanderling and Red Knot amongst others. Other coastal birds included Little, Sandwich and Common Tern and a Mediterranean Gull was seen briefly. A couple of Little Gull were a nice surprise and a Black-legged Kittiwake was also present on the scrape along with the usual Herring, Black-headed and Common Gulls.
As we walked back around the marsh to join the reedbed trail a Great Bittern flew over the path in front of us. The reedbed areas held Western Marsh Harrier, Grey Heron and various common wildfowl – Tufted Duck, Pochard, Gadwall and Northern Shoveler. Passerines were heard rather than seen, with Reed and Sedge Warblers present and Bearded Tit were also heard.
We finished the day with a total of 82 species recorded.