Monday, 27 June 2011

26th June, Lakenheath to Titchwell

We set off to Lakenheath just after 5am yesterday morning (we being two friends called Pete and me), we didn't see too many birds on the way up but as we pulled into the car park of the reserve a BARN OWL carrying prey flew over the edge of the washland, nice start! Once I'd loaded myself up with camera, bins, scope, and rucksack with provisions, we were off. A couple of strides away from the car and a KINGFISHER flashed passed closely followed by another a few seconds later! Once into the reserve there was plenty to see SEDGE, and REED WARBLERS were abundant as were COMMON WHITETHROATS and REED BUNTINGS.
Reed Warbler

It wasn't long before we had our first of 6 raptor species today KESTREL closely followed by MARSH HARRIER. Just after seeing the Marsh Harrier we heard the first of 2 GRASSHOPPER WARBLERS. Everything was happening quite quickly, a quick stop at the first view point and it wasn't long before we were listening to a Golden Oriole, the two Petes had never seen one but had heard them before, it sounded like the bird was heading a long the long thin strip of poplars to our left, we took the path along the edge of this strip and I managed to pick up the male GOLDEN ORIOLE in flight, about 40ft up, it flew right passed us over the view point and landed in full view, albeit briefly, in some dead branches at the top of a Poplar!!! Brilliant, so we decided to head home!?
After deciding that now we were here we might as well have more of a look round we continued. I always enjoy Lakenheath and try to get at least one trip a year in. We soon added BUZZARD, BEARDED TITS, 2 BITTERNS, a couple of HOBBIES and countless CUCKOOS and MARSH HARRIERS, by the time we left at 10.30am we had made a note of 55 species.
Four Spotted Chaser

Weeting is so close to Lakenheath and on our way to Titchwell, it made sense to drop in to see how the Stone Curlews were doing, unfortunately our timing was a bit out and a coach load had just started queuing to get in the hide! Since our last visit, the reserve has opened up an area of woodland to the public on the opposite side of the road to the hides, it didn't look too far on the map. 2hrs later, the circuit was complete! not without a few birds being added to the growing day list several though. TREE PIPITS sang and one displayed well, then a second new bird for both Petes was a WOODLARK also singing and displaying, a little late but a very welcome sight, it then sat in full view singing until it was time we moved on.Eventually back at the hides, now empty, it was great to see 2 STONE CURLEWS with a chick not far out in their favoured field.
Next stop was just outside Burnham Market, looking for raptors. There were loads of gulls over the fields including a couple of MEDITERRANEAN GULLS, we also managed another raptor Pete S picked up a RED KITE flying towards Burnham Market, a really nice surprise!
On to Titchwell and the hope of the maybe a Temminck's Stint, we were heading that way anyway. Pretty much the first bird we saw was a SPOONBILL which flew right passed us, for once camera at the ready, I fired off a few shots, once again I was on the wrong setting, will I ever get the hang of this, I wondered to myself!

Black Headed Gull

The scrape was full of waders, loads of BAR TAILED and BLACK TAILED GODWITS as well as AVOCET, KNOT, some excellent summer plumaged SPOTTED REDSHANKS and a single GREY PLOVER. The last stop was the sea and a couple of GANNETS headed east as did a single LITTLE TERN. There was time just see one last BITTERN as it flew towards the Fen Hide and dropped into the reeds. Unfortunately the reported Temminck's Stint had gone but there was plenty to see!


Shelduck with young

A total of 100 species exactly was more than I expected, to keep the numbers round we also saw 10 butterfly species a Muntjac, Common Lizard and a couple of moths not forgetting a the Four Spotted Chasers Emperor Dragonfly and I think a Variable Damselfly. Back home by 9.30pm, I gave the moths at Sissinghurst a miss this this morning. (it might be worth clicking on a couple of the images).


Rachel J said...

Sounds an excellent outing Al. When I was up there the other week, we were knee deep in Sedge warblers, they seem to have had a good year. Good job getting the oriole, mine was a flyover too so standing between woods would seem a good way to spot them. I was also hoping for grasshopper warbler (would have been a first) but didn't pick one up. We did the walk over the road from Weeting as well, we went hideously off track without realising it (there was no point where we thought, "Which way now?", it all seemed quite straightforward) but when we got back to the road we were about two miles away from the reserve! Fortunately the landlord of the pub opposite very kindly gave us a lift back. But it was worth it as we had picked up tree pipit and loads of yellowhammers. I've no idea where we went wrong though! Glad you had a good day out, a great total.

ShySongbird said...

What a great day you had Alan! So many birds. Living in such a landlocked area I have never seen a lot of them, I would love to see a Spoonbill.

A Golden Oriole, how amazing! I believe Lakenheath is a particularly good place for them. I have never seen a Woodlark either.

Lovely photos of the Avocet.

A visit to remember and I'm not surprised you gave the mothing a miss the next morning :)

Greenie said...

Alan ,
What a brilliant trip , well worth the early start/late finish .
Incredible species total , a job for a large notebook .
Great read and pictures .

Warren Baker said...

100 species in a day :-) more than we have seen on our respective patches this past 6 months Alan. Still, it's all about habitat.

Oriole! Awesome !!

Alan Pavey said...

Sorry for late replies, stock take has taken over!!

Hi Rach, It was a great day and we were surprised to reach 100 for the day.
The new bit at Weeting was a nice walk.

Hi ShySongbird, We were very lucky, there seem to be a few Spoonbills on the North Norfolk coast, after they bred for the first time last year.

Golden Oriole was the bird we really wanted to see and we had all been in the last couple of years and failed, so seeing it was fantastic. Woodlark was a bonus as they disperse after breeding and can be more difficult :-)

Hi Greenie, Thanks, I've done the trip several times over the years, it never fails to be an interesting day, if a slightly tiring one! but it's a nice tired feeling at the end of the day!!

Hi Warren, I love how much you can do in a day, if you gat up early and we didn't even use all the daylight hours that were available!
I've not done a dawn 'til dusk on the patch, I wonder what the total would be? I think over 60 would optimistic :-)

Phil said...

Hi Alan.
Sorry about the late comment, don't know how I missed this post. What a great day, i'm very envious, particularly of the golden Oriole having never seen one.

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Phil, I'm having trouble keeping up with everyone as well! It was a great day.