Trip reports

Group trip to Minsmere, Wednesday February 19th

Group trip to Minsmere, Wednesday February 19th
Jane Bond

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Following weeks of heavy rainfall, conditions underfoot were muddy, most of us opting for wellington boots, and we discovered that the path from the sluice to the south and west hides was impassable, but we were able to access the east, north, bittern and island mere hides. We started in the north hide but as we were looking into the light, most birds were in silhouette, so we quickly moved on to east hide where the light was much better. The north bushes produced the expected woodland species, plus a pair of goldcrests and from the east hide many kinds of duck and a selection of gulls were seen. A common sandpiper was a bonus, though due to the high water levels wading birds were conspicuous by their absence. The viewing platform along the beach was expected to produce two female smews which had been around for a while, but on this occasion were not seen. An owl was spotted from here, resting on the mud by some reedbeds with opinions split as to whether it was a barn or short-eared although many of us favoured the latter. The jury is still out on that one!
Following lunch, most of us decided to visit bittern and island mere hides. The former was largely unproductive but from the island mere at least three marsh harriers were in the air at one time and a bittern flying past was the icing on the cake.

Birds seen: Great spotted woodpecker, blue tit, great tie, blackbird, moorhen, magpie, dunnock, robin, tufted duck, Canada goose, little egret, mallard, lapwing, teal, shelduck, shoveler, gadwall, wood pigeon, dunlin, pochard, oystercatcher, pintail, goldcrest, red-legged partridge, barnacle goose, chaffinch, cormorant, mute swan, wigeon, marsh harrier, herring, lesser black-back, great black-back, common and black-headed gull, redshank, goldfinch, greylag goose, common sandpiper, short-eared owl, long-tailed tit, grey heron, coot, bittern and little grebe. Birds heard: Cetti's warbler, green woodpecker and pheasant.

David Jeffries