Friday, 5 July 2013

Lakenheath to Titchwell

We tend to do an annual visit to look for Golden Orioles at Lakenheath in Suffolk then head on to the north Norfolk coast, so Saturday 28th three of us set off at around 5am to see what we could find.
The first half an hour at Lakenheath was very quiet and felt almost wintry, overcast windy and not much more than 10 or 12 degrees! Things did gradually warm up both with birds and the weather. The first of 3 BITTERN flew up from the reeds as we approached west wood, this was closely followed by hearing a GRASSHOPPER WARBLER which flew up onto a reed and in full view for a minute or two, a new bird for my two companions! The view point at Joist Fen produced many MARSH HARRIER, BEARDED TIT, COMMON TERN, CUCKOO and two more BITTERN sightings one very close while my camera was still   in it's bag!! A CRANE called from behind the river bank but remained unseen. No Golden Orioles sung and apparently they haven't been for a couple of weeks, maybe they have moved off-site, we'll try again next year no doubt.
Marsh Harrier - Lakenheath

 A quick drop into Weeting was rewarded with STONE CURLEWS with chicks plus TREE PIPIT and strangely I added some new moths which was unexpected as they emptied the traps at Weeting, SMALL ELEPHANT HAWK-MOTH, LUNAR YELLOW UNDERWING and CLOUDED BUFF were all new!
At a site for Montagu's Harrier we managed only RED KITE and GREY PARTRIDGE, which wasn't to be sniffed at it was the first Grey Partridge I'd seen this year. 
Finally to Titchwell and a very obliging WATER VOLE was initially too close to get a picture! A BARN OWL was extremely active in the now sunny and warm conditions. On the flood 2 summer plumaged RUFF stole the show for me but at least half a dozen LITTLE GULLS, 2 SPOTTED REDSHANK and good numbers of BLACK TAILED GODWIT and usual AVOCETS were keeping us entertained.
On the beach probably 1000 KNOT wheeled up and down, some in their red summer garb, 1 summer plumaged DUNLIN was with them and far out to sea a raft of maybe a couple of hundred COMMON SCOTER bobbed up and down. A total of 99 bird species were seen or heard and 7 Mammal species seen which is probably some sort of record for me in one day in the UK!
Water Vole

Barn Owl

Common Tern



The following day we visited friends who took us to College Lake in the Tring area and I saw my first BEE ORCHIDS!
Bee Orchid - College Lake


Lou Mary said...

Sounds like a really wonderful couple of days!! Beautiful capture of the barn owl, the lighting is just superb! I also love the teal shot :)

Isidro Ortiz said...

Estupendas capturas,la que mas me gusta es la captura en vuelo de la Lechuza.Un abrazo

Lasse said...

Excellent photos Alan !

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Nice picks.. A warm greeting from Madrid

Greenie said...

Alan ,
Might not have got the GOs , but you certainly got some great species in their place .
Great in flight shots .
Well done with the Bee Orchids .

Frank said...

Alan, your trip and sightings at Lakenheath appear to mirror my two recent visits there.

Like you I wonder where the pair of Orioles are!

Warren Baker said...

Hi Alan,
Great place to visit, now if only all our countryside could be like that :-)

Mike H said...


Seems like you had a great weekend even if you missed out on those Orioles.

Helma said...

Wow Alan,
what a beautiful photos and what a beautiful color.
I'm a little bit jealous of you flying owl! Great to see but also your harrier. The colors of your teal duck is really fantastic. Then the avocet, common tern, water beast and ended with a beautiful orchid.
My compliments.
Greetings, Helma

Stephen Mills said...

Hi Alan, we went to Lakenheath the weekend before you and didn't see or hear any Orioles either.We did manage to see the Cranes as they obliged us by flying form the cattle field on the left and over the bank across the river, This was the first time Phyllis and I had been to Lakenheath and we were very impressed.