Monday, 21 June 2010
An early departure at 0500 with cousin Bob from Spain for a morning's birding at Lakenheath Fen.
First of all, we decided to stop of at Weeting Heath for typical Breckland species. A careful scan of the heath revealed a pair of Stone Curlews quite distantly on the heath. Nearby, a Little Owl was sitting on the ground. Other species seen on the heath included a number of Lapwings, including a single chick, Mistle Thrush, a pair of Stock Doves, and a single adult Lesser Black-backed Gull.
In the roadside pine belt, Nuthatch, Blue, and Great Tits (both species with juveniles), Chiffchaff, and Blackcap were all noted.
Our arrival at this site at about 0630 coincided with increasing warmth, a weather feature which has been sadly lacking in recent days.
The out-walk along the raised bank produced good numbers of singing Sedge Warblers, Reed warblers, and a single 'reeling' Grasshopper Warbler. One Cetti' Warbler was in song. A very welcome sight was the presence of 3 juvenile Reed Warblers being fed by adult birds, at least this pair successfully raised a family without attracting the attention of ever-present Cuckoo's, of which, at least 4 birds were present. These Cuckoo's were certainly attracting attention to themselves with incessant calling, which included the frequent sound of the female birds' bubbling call.
As Bob and myself approached the first Poplar plantation, the distinct fluty song of a male Golden Oriole was heard. I was not expecting to see this stunning species, how wrong I was. A beautiful male Golden Oriole provided stunning views as it broke with tradition and came out onto an exposed branch. At least a further 2 male Golden Oriole's were heard on this visit - wonderful.
Also noted was a pair of Common Buzzards, a pair of kestrels, and a single Sparrowhawk.
Two parties of Bearded Tits were seen, their numbers probably totaling 20+ birds.
A visit to the Joist Fen hide was productive with Bittern giving a strange grunting call. Occasionally, a single Bittern was seen over-flying the reed-bed. Marsh Harriers were seen over the reeds and single Kingfisher provided close views. Unfortunately, there was no sign of the Common Cranes which apparently occur at this locality.