Sunday, 22 May 2011

Sunday 22nd May 2011 _ Lackenheath Fen

This morning was spent in the effort to try and see Golden Oriole at Lackenheath Fen in Suffolk. Upon arrival though conditions were really not in our favour. The sun was shining and in fact it was quite a nice warm day but it was starting to blow a gale and the trees were being shaken all over the place. It's hard enough to get a glimpse of Golden Oriole on the best of days but today looked doomed from the start. So Pete Bateup and myself walked form the car down the path along the reedbeds towards the Poplar plantations, and soon enough a male could be heard calling from the tops of the trees. At this point the trees were being blown all over the place but as we had travelled to be here we gave it a go........in vain! To be honest is was always going to be impossible right from the start as Golden Orioles are always difficult to see even on the best of days but nevertheless we did enjoy 10 minutes of it's fluting song before we gave up and headed down to the watchpoint.


From here at least 4 Marsh Harrier could be seen with a food pass by a pair witnessed by Pete, also a Hobby zipping through were the highlights. I did manage a short glimpse of a Bittern flying over the reedbed before landing but we decided that the weather just wasn't in our favour so we decided to go to a local site for Stone Curlew.

This area is one of Suffolk's worst kept secrets regarding Stone Curlew but lets just say it's near Lackenheath Airbase and its not Weeting Heath - we'll leave it at that. Upon arrival Pete and I scanned the gorse bushes up on the horizon and after about 20 minutes we both managed to pick a male bird up at the same time. As we stood watching the bird hoping it would take a walk (it was sheltering behind a gorse bush at the time) gradually my eye focused on the lump of mud it was standing next to and I realised it was the female sitting on the nest! I appreciate that may sound like terrible birding not to be able to see a bird sitting infront of you but trust me, Pete and I were looking at the male for a good 10 minutes before we realised the female was sitting next to him she is that well camoflauged. Here's a very shaky digiscoped clip of the pair - its very distant but the male is slightly left of centre looking out from behind the gorse bush and the female is sitting tight in the middle, for a closer look click the link to my you tube page vid and blow it up full screen -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDnmWkcZi10


Well this capped the morning off nicely and as the wind was picking up we decided that a pint of beer was the best option so to the pub we went. We didn't see the bird we was after but still a good morning all the same.

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