Thursday, 3 May 2012


Lakenheath Fen RSPB on Sunday 22nd April. A classic stop-off point for a voyage into deepest, darkest Suffolk.  A pleasant few hours here, despite the intermittent showers.

Most notably, were a fine pair of Garganey on the mere, 6 Bearded Tit, c6 Marsh Harrier and a Whooper Swan with an injured wing, which had sadly been reduced to feeding with Mutes along the river bank.

Reed Warblers outnumbered Sedge Warbler by far in the reedbeds. Common Whitethroat, Cuckoo, Blackcap and Green Woodpecker were also encountered. Unfortunately we were a little early for Golden Oriole and none had yet arrived, although they are in now.

A stop-off at a nearby undisclosed location notable for Stone Curlew was unfruitful. Although one was heard distantly, they failed to show. 2 Wheatear were noted here.

A few days were then spent around the Minsmere / Sizewell area. Rain was a major theme of our visit and the winds were not right for bringing major rarities, however a good range of species were enjoyed nonetheless.

On Monday the showy Bittern at Island Mere Hide was on view for an incredible 3 hours, making this my most sustained view ever of this species. It also fished extremely close to the hide most of the time, offering copious photography opportunities despite the poor weather.

Ridiculously showy Bittern at Minsmere

Bittern - Image courtesy of Mark Rayment

Water Rail, Bearded Tit and Marsh Harrier (up to 6 birds) were all standard in this part of the reserve.

Marsh Harrier - Image Courtesy of Mark Rayment

3 male Ring Ouzels were seen in the fields around the reserve, including this one. 

Rouzel - blurry record image

Waders observed on the scrape were in low numbers due to high waters, but there was a reasonable variety. Noted were 2 Knot, Redshank, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit (including a colour-ringed individual), Turnstone, 4 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover, 2 Grey Plover and of course, Avocets. Little Egret also present.

Warblers included double figures of Sedge and Cetti's and a smaller number of Reed. 2 Lesser Whitethroat and a small number of Common Whitethroat were new arrivals. Blackcap, Chiffy and Willow Warbler were present of course in good numbers

Other migrants included a Cuckoo and 3 Swifts which arrived on the 24th and a few Wheatears were hopping around Whin Hill and Sizewell Coastal Path.

More notable gull species included 7 Med Gulls and a single 1st summer Little Gull. The odd LBBG and GBBG were also on the scrape, with Kittiwakes at sea.

Gadwall - image courtesy Mark Rayment

Terns included around 20 each of Sandwich & Common Tern and a single Little Tern was also on the scrape.

The escaped Greater Flamingo ‘Fiona’ seemed quite at home on the scrape. In a plastic-type way of course.

Fiona - exile from Twycross Zoo

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