Trip reports

Visit to Minsmere

Reedbed and sea at Minsmere

Sunday, 25 April 2010

After reporting to reception we set off in a clockwise direction sporting our blue RSPB plastic labels. The sand martin colony was up and running with plenty of birds to-ing and fro-ing. A warden stopped us by some hawthorn bushes and showed us a nightingale out in the open on the ground, telling us it had an injured leg. Further on a male wheatear gave us good views and a male marsh harrier floated about in the distance.

Cettis and sedge warbler called and sang constantly from the reedbed and a splendid male bearded tit, with bill full of nest building material was doing the splits directly in front of us before flying over our heads towards his nest site.

With nothing happening on the beach or out at sea and with rain starting, we headed for the East Hide for lunch. The Scrape was alive with gulls, waders, and terns. Nesting Mediterranean stood out amongst the black-headed and great black-backed roosted with herring gulls. Every island had its own pair of barnacle geese. There were many shelduck and one rather handsome drake pintail.

Avocets swished their delicate up-curved bills back and forth across the surface of the water and black-tailed godwits fed along the reed edge. Redshank, ringed plover and oystercatcher were also observed.

Common and sandwich terns were also well represented and in the distance three little terns could be seen.

With lunch over and the sun shining we made or way to the sluice. There a pair of swallows entertained us swooping low over our heads, perching on a nearby signpost and dropping into the brick culvert, presumably their nest site.

On the pools behind the South Hide were a little grebe and spotted redshank. A bittern briefly boomed from this area but that was the only one we heard all day. Apparently the day before, nine bitterns were booming. What a difference a day makes, that's birdwatching for you! From the hide the three species were seen lined up together, good for indentification and a small flock of dunlin fed actively in the company of a knot.

With time running out we made our way to the Bittern Hide and not a moment too soon! A male marsh harrier perch on a dead tree stump in front of us, then a bittern took off and did a circuit of the reedbed before landing somewhere behind the West Hide that we had just passed.

While passing through the woodland towards the Visitor Centre, treecreeper, marsh tit and firecrest.were seen by a lucky few.

Whilst boarding the coach a nightingale and blackcap could be heard at the car park entrance.

Peter and Lesley Berrill