|Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis|
What a way to spend your wedding anniversary, writing up bird blogs before having to go shopping and then a dance class. By the time i get the photos sorted it will be the end of the week-end! And to add insult to injury, even the planned two-day trip over to cousin Paul Newport in Watton (the Breckland Birder) took on last-second, nevermind minute, amendments.
|Lovely Lady Fen, Welney from the Visitors Centre|
|Mute Swan Cygnus olor family on Lovely Lady Fen|
The other side of the reserve contained two pairs of Whoopoer Swans who, for one reason or another, had nor migrated back to Tundra to breed but chose to make whoopee at their winter quarters. Also present were breeding House Martins, Avocets, Common Sandpipers, a single Pied Wagtail and a trio of Greylag Geese. No shortage of Little Egrets and a Heron and then, on the journey over to Watton, Greenfinches, House Sparrows and a resting Kestrel.
By now the skies had become very dark in deed with thunder rumbling along in the background. Come 7pm the heavens opened for a good hour so able to enjoy the day's report on the Tour de France before setting off to Hockham Fen. Only problem now that I had packed no spare shoes, nevermind walking boots, so my suede loafers were somewhat wet by the time we had walked through the woods to the edge of the fen. With a few minutes we had been joined by Kevin Moran for nearby BTO headquarters in Thetford who was most keen to confirm what Paul had heard very early that morning and, if confirmed, a very rare visitor indeed to this pat of the world a this time of the year. A Heron flew across the sky as the sun set and then a silhouette of a Red Deer's head. The animal later edged along the far bank and revealed itself along with a second hind plus two well-grown fawns and a third, older, youngster.
Then, at 9.19 precisely, the first call and we all looked at each other, smiled and shook hands as we confirmed the presence of a Spotted Crake, its "huitt" call sounding just like the first half of a wolf-whistle as so aptly described ion Collins. A couple more calls in the next twenty minutes then it really took off after the last of the daylight had gone. Magnificent! Best of all, Paul had managed to take a recording and I have asked him if it is possible to download and then add to his blog as an attachment for other to listen. Follow the Breckland Birder's blog at: http://brecklandbirder.blogspot.co.uk to see Paul's report and whether or not such a connection is possible. Then, in the dark, it was back to Watton and try and dry shoes in time for the morning's visit to Lakenheath but at least we would not be setting out before the sun.
|Now that's a gorgeous Whitethroat Sylvia communis|
|Distant Cranes Grus grus over RSPB Lakenheath|
|Singing Sedge Warbler Acrocephalis schoenobaenus|
|Once more, back to our friendly Whitethroat Sylvia communis|
|Mute Swan Cygnus olor|
On arrival we found a single Coot on the small pond immediately in front of the hide along with a lonely young Mute Swan cygnet; where were the rest of the family? A juvenile Moorhen was perched on top of a metre plus post but soon change its mind when it saw that company had arrived. Then a rather splendid thirty minutes as first a Bittern took off from close range, coming out of nowhere and disappearing to same with in five metres. It was later to make another couple of short sorties before departing the immediate area. In the distance, not more swans but four Cranes who made a number of circuits before settling once more. At least thirty plus Lapwings flew over and then a couple of Buzzards over the far trees. Meanwhile, behind us, we had a hovering Kestrel and that was it for raptors other than the Red Kite seen as we approached Watton on the return journey and the resident female Marsh Harrier.
|Bittern Botaurus stellaris at Joist Fen Viewpoint|
|One of very many Red Admirals Vanessa atalanta|
Arriving at the new hide overlooking the small red-fringed lake we found full occupancy and just room for one seat. Everybody here was with the expressed purpose of seeing and photographing the Kingfisher that had taken up territory. We did see the bird flash past but this was not my "cup of tea" with so much else to see.
|Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum|
|An Emerald or a female Common Blue?|
|High and distant Stock Dove Columba oenas|
And so the morning ended with Goldfinches and Blue Tits on the feeders back at the Visitors Centre as we bade our farewells and headed off to Watton.
Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Gadwall, Mallard, Pheasant, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Bittern, Little Egret, Heron, Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, Water Rail, Spotted Crake, Moorhen, Coot, Crane, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Lapwing, Ruff, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Common Tern, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Kingfisher, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Bearded Tit, Blue Tit, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting.
|One more Bittern back at the Visitors Centre - but going nowhere as he posed in his glass box!|
|More Whitethroat shots|
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.