Monday, 1 June 2009

A stomp in the fens

As mentioned previously, a weekend spent in East Anglia. Whilst driving to Norwich, news filtered through of a Great Knot at Breydon Water. "Shiver me timbers!" I thought politely, or words to that effect. But I bet it doesn't stick around.

Saturday 30th May, Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire, 10:30 - 13:30.

As I thought, the Great Knot had moved on. And in fact, not much else around to go for. Perhaps it was a little indulgent to go after the Squacco Heron at Wicken Fen, considering the number I've seen abroad before now (if you want to see loads of Squacco's, try the Thulasihleka Pan, Richards Bay, South Africa).

Unfortunately it appeared that early mornings and evenings were the best time for the Squacco Heron on Baker's Fen. But at least a dozen Little Egrets around, along with good views of Hobby and Cuckoo.

Lakenheath Fen, Suffolk, 14:15 - 17:30.

Twenty years ago, almost to the day, during a short birding holiday with my mum and dad we had an unforgettable day away from the north coast, in the brecks. Along with Weeting Heath for Stone Curlews and Santon Downham, which held the last pair of Red-Backed Shrikes (only a male was around), we visited Lakenheath for Golden Orioles.

Quite wisely, back then this site was nowhere near as well-publicised as it is today. Away from the poplar plantations it looked very different back when, all arable crop fields. What a transformation twenty years on! The poplars are now surrounded by reedbeds, marshes and lagoons. This is what the RSPB do best if you ask me, habitat creation/improvement.

An impressive selection of birds here too. Including a stonking male Golden Oriole, Garganey, Hobby, Marsh Harriers, a Bittern booming away. And more Cuckoos, an enviable amount of them here compared to around home.

Sunday 31st May, Potter Heigham/Hickling Broad, Norfolk, 09:00 - 12:30.

A bit of time for a morning's birding around Hickling Broad. A fruitless search around Potter Heigham for where a Great White Egret was supposed to be (in the end the bird is around the southern edge of the broad itself, so we were way off), over to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve.
Highlights around and about in the area included four Cranes, a flyover Bittern and a female Bearded Tit. However, the largest gathering of people were looking at this beautiful Swallowtail butterfly:

I've never twitched an insect before, there's a first time for everything!

Alas it was time to go home. I did think about going via Wicken Fen again but didn't fancy getting stung in the pocket by the National Trust, only to dip again. But a most enjoyable weekend, many thanks Jo, Ian and Fran.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rich--lovely pic of the swallowtail how long did it stay perched on the chap's hair?