Trip reports

Visit to RSPB Minsmere

Reedbed and sea at Minsmere

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Our coach journey started at 7 am, once there, we were welcomed by two local volunteers who were on hand and ready to provide everyone with entrance discs and data sheets with all the recent sightings. The weather was very mild for the time of year and as the day went on it got warmer, eventually turning in to a very hot, but hazy afternoon.

Starting off with my two birding buddies Steve and Gary we took to the Coast trail in search of migrants, followed by some sea watching. "Ping" first up were a flock of 10 bearded tit giving us good views of these stunning birds. A cetti's warbler soon had the bins on a single bird within 30 metres, good to view one as you often hear them but don't manage to see them! The sea watch was somewhat disappointing as the only notable birds being a single common scoter and a small flock of brent geese, followed by a wheatear in the dunes whilst I was adjusting my scope.

Walking along the shingle we stopped at the East hide, a superb two storey hide with good views across the scrapes. Here we had a panoramic view over a vast array of birds, the notable ones being purple sandpiper, spotted redshank, common sandpiper, avocet, snipe, black tailed godwit, little egret and a large flock of barnacle geese. Our second close views of bearded tit occurred here too as about 8 dropped in briefly into the surrounding reeds. One landed on a reed and was promptly dunked in the water as the reed gave way, this we found amusing and appealed to our schoolboy humour. Leaving the lads to carry on scanning the scrapes I indulged myself in moving to the other side of the reserve to explore the woodland which gave up the usual common bird species. I finally reached the Bittern hide, here I settled down to enjoy the last 35 minutes before returning to our coach for our journey back.

The hide was very elevated giving good views across the surrounding grassland and reed beds. Butterflies were aplenty with small white the obvious common sighting due to their hue. From here I saw, water rail, kingfisher, hobby, kestrel, buzzard, sparrowhawk and marsh harrier. As I made my way back to the visitors centre, I heard tree creeper and deep within the trees I spotted a young red deer along with grey squirrel.

Birds seen today in no particular order are as follows, bearded tit, blue tit, great tit, goldfinch, wren, green woodpecker, great spotted woodpecker, wood pigeon, wheatear, meadow pipit, cetti's warbler, robin, pheasant, carrion crow, jackdaw, lesser black-backed gull, black headed gull, great black-backed gull, herring gull, canada goose, barnacle goose, wigeon, pintail, shoveler, tufted duck, common scoter, teal, common sandpiper, avocet, lapwing, purple sandpiper, snipe, black- tailed godwit, redshank, spotted redshank, collared dove, kingfisher, skylark, little egret, starling, linnet, mallard, gadwall, mute swan, cormorant, grey heron, greylag goose, marsh harrier, kestrel, hobby, sparrowhawk, buzzard, water rail, moorhen, coot, dunnock, jay, magpie, rook and reed bunting.

This is only my sightings list and not the complete list of birds seen by others within the group.

A great start for the local Coventry and Warwickshire Local Group, the first of what will be many trips for me this season.

Steve McAusland