Tuesday, 22 April 2008

The Brecks,Stone Curlews, Cranes and Ouzels. 19th April 2008

Following an early start from Leicester at around 5.00am, John, myself and the Wearside Whippet (aka: Brian), drove over to the "Brecks" on the Suffolk/Norfolk border for a day trip around Norfolk.

Our first port of call was Weeting Heath NWT to look for Stone Curlew and WoodLark. Arriving first at the West hide, we soon located two pairs of Stone Curlews in front of the hide, and as you can imagine we took quite a few photos of the Curlews.
Moving on to the East hide, like the Stone Curlews we soon located a singing Woodlark quite close to the hide. Again the group took a few photos of the performing Woodlark.
The other notable sighting we had on the reserve was of an adult Stoat giving grief to the local Lapwings and the large population of rabbits.

From Weeting Heath, we then went to Lakenheath RSPB reserve. The last time I went to this reserve about five years ago, it had no facilities, so I was pleasantly surprised to find a new visitor centre and a build up of new habitats like the new large reedbed and the surrounding washland.
Sightings we saw on the reserve included good numbers of Bearded Tits and five Marsh Harriers over the large reed bed, newly arrived spring migrants in the form of Sedge Warblers, Whitethroat and a single Reed warbler. However the best sighting we had on the reserve was of an adult Common Crane flying briefly over the reed bed. Last year a pair of Common Cranes breed at this site, which was the first time in Britian for over two hundred years,so hopefully it will occur again this year?

Moving on from "The Brecks" we drove over to the North Norfolk coast, to see if we could find some more spring migrants. First stop was Burnham Overy Staithe to look for a long staying Rough-legged Buzzard, but after scanning the marshes for a good half an hour, there was no sign of the Buzzard.
Following a pager message we then moved to Thornham, to look for the reported Ring Ouzels. Parking on the road between Thornham and Choseley, we soon located at least three Ring Ouzels sitting on a nearby hedge in the surrounding farmland.
The final destination of the day was Snettisham country park, were a pair of Garganey had been reported earlier in the day.
Checking out the marshes, notable sightings included a couple of Avocets, good numbers of Pink-footed Geese,a pair of Marsh Harriers quartering the marshes, and the usual waders normally encountered at Snettisham. However there was no sign of the Garganeys!
Returning to the car the final sighting of the day was of a Lesser Whitethroat singing in a nearby bush next to the car park.
Thanks to John for supplying his photo of the Common Crane at Lakenheath.
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