Trip reports

RSPB Minsmere

RSPB Minsmere
Phil Jackson

Monday, 21 January 2019

Our route today would take us round the Scrape in a clockwise direction, visiting the four hides if time permitted.
Our first stop was by the boardwalk over the pond as here there was some Bird's nest fungus growing against the wooden batten next to the concrete. This is a tiny fungus and could easily be overlooked. The cup is said to represent a nest and the fruiting bodies in it are the eggs. From here we went on to North hide from where a variety of water birds could be seen including many of the common dabbling ducks and three species of geese. Perhaps the most unlikely one was a Cape shelduck - this was almost certainly an escape.
We retraced our steps back to the main path, stopping to watch a very active goldcrest in the trees. A pair of oystercatchers were on the hill behind the visitor centre and a stonechat in the bushes but little else apart from the usual rabbits. The North wall was quiet with no sign of reed buntings or bearded tits.
After a brief look at the sea, where a couple of great crested grebes were seen we carried on to East hide. From here we saw more wildfowl and a few waders, including some avocets and dunlin. There were also a small number of gulls, including a Mediterranean gull. On the far side was a female goosander.
We continued towards the Sluice, hoping to see the Dartford warblers which had been recently reported in that area. We were not disappointed, eventually getting quite a good view of two birds. Also in that area were at least two more stonechats. As we approached South hide, quite a lot of the Scrape was viewable from the path, so we did not go in that hide. An adult and a juvenile whooper swan were the pick of the bunch there. Time was pressing so we went on to West hide, where we saw several curlew. By now we were more than ready for lunch so we headed back to the visitor centre and café.
Highlights for me were the Dartford warblers and goosander, but I am sure that everyone had their own.
A conservative count of species seen was 45 and no doubt a few were missed. This does not include any that were heard only, such as wren, skylark and Cetti's warbler.
My thanks to the Field Trip Organiser for arranging this walk and to all who supported it.

Phil Jackson