Trip reports

Reserve Visit: RSPB Minsmere

Adult black-tailed godwit in summer plummage, at the RSPB Snettisham nature reserve, Norfolk

Saturday, 24 June 2017

This visit to RSPB Minsmere was our third consecutive visit and once again we were not disappointed. We understand that the weather in Eastbourne for Saturday 24th June was wet, windy and chilly. Up in beautiful Minsmere we were treated to a warm, sunny day, the blue sky interspersed with fluffy white clouds accompanied by a very gentle breeze. in other words, near perfect birding weather.

The birds on display, for our searching and expectant eyes, did not disappoint, but without the bird identification skills of Neil, Sedley and Alan Harris we would have missed much.

Our travelling band of birders totalled 25, but once at Minsmere the group had the option of either joining a Neil Group or a Sedley Group or simply just doing "their own thing" enjoying all that Minsmere had to offer, including the café with its delicious cakes that most of us indulged in prior to our departure at 5.00 pm.

It was a day full of wonderful sightings; one or two unexpected surprises, and more than one "fly past" of that most iconic and elusive of birds, the bittern. Was it one bittern or two, we were not sure, but under a clear sky and in excellent light we were treated to close up views of a bittern in flight on more than one occasion. In the afternoon some of us went to the Bittern Hide and there sitting in the reeds preening himself and offering up profile shots should anyone wish to take a photograph, we looked through bins and scopes in utter silence at this amazing bird. Simply wonderful.

Of course there were many other birds seen on the reserve. As well as the bittern the group saw avocet, gadwall, teal, shoveler, shelduck, mallard, barnacle, Canada and greylag geese, moorhen, coot, heron, great crested grebe, spoonbill, lapwing, redshank, ringed plover, spotted redshank, oystercatcher, knot, bar tailed godwit, black tailed godwit (pictured), little egret, cormorant, black headed, Mediterranean, common, lesser black backed and greater black backed gull, common, little and Sandwich tern, mute swan, starling, red legged partridge, reed warbler, buzzard, kittiwake, marsh harrier, hobby, kestrel, greenfinch, goldfinch, linnet, crow, skylark, nuthatch, jay, blackbird, blue and great tit, wren, reed bunting, pied wagtail, robin, swallow, sand martin, chiffchaff, blackcap, bearded tit, magpie, pheasant and wood pigeon.
Also heard, but not seen, were green woodpecker, great spotted woodpecker, Cetti's warbler and Savi's warbler.