RSPB Minsmere April 2018

BLACKBOURNE U3A BIRDING GROUP VISIT TO MINSMERE Thursday the 12th April 2018

12 of us met up in the visitor centre café just before 10am. There was quite a thick blanket of sea fret or fog which was cutting visibility down to a hundred yards or so. We agreed that it might be better to have a short morning walk and an early lunch and by then the fog may have lifted. There had been talk of a Hawfinch sighting in the wood so we set off in that direction. Along the way we saw some common woodland birds such as Great Tit, Chaffinch and Robin. We heard a Chiffchaff and a Blackcap and we were able to get very close up views of the Blackcap.

We climbed into the Bittern hide but did not see a Bittern and the only birds of note seen were a Little Grebe and a distant sight and sound of Bearded Tits. However, on descending from the hide wedistinctly heard a Bittern ‘boom’ twice. After visiting another hidewe returned to the café for our lunch.

After lunch we made our way to the discovery centre where members of the Waveney Bird Group were giving demonstrations of bird ringing. We heard how they can sex the birds, estimate their age and even tell if they are incubating eggs! The star bird that they ringed was undoubtedly the Treecreeper. This bird is incredibly well adapted to feed on insects found in the bark of trees. It is superbly camouflaged, it has a thin pointed beak for extracting insects, a stiff tail to support its weight as it goes vertically up a tree trunk and very sharp claws to give it grip on the smoothest trees. As Gill and Peter H and Dave approached the discovery centre they heard a bird calling from the hawthorn thicket along the road. The call was not one they had heard before so they searched high and low to spot the bird. Round and round they went for a good 15 minutes until eventually they spotted mist nets that were being used for the bird ringing. It was then that they realised that they had been duped. The call was that of a Brambling and was coming from a speaker that was being used to attract other birds to the nets!

Some of the group decided to call it a day and the remainder headed for the South Hide. By then the fog had indeed lifted and we saw a glimpse of the Sun. One more hide was visited and Peter managed to spot two small groups of Sandwich Terns amongst hundreds of Black Headed Gulls. The day had started with low expectations due to the restricted visibility but incredibly by the end of the day we had seen 54 species and heard another 6 although one was from the speaker!!

Species seen:
Great Tit, Chaffinch, Robin, Blue Tit, Black Headed Gull, Jackdaw, Long Tailed Tit, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Pheasant, Mallard, Moorhen, Greylag Goose, Coot, Little Grebe, Bearded Tit, Wood Pigeon, Wren, Blackbird, Marsh Tit, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, House Martin, Tufted Duck, Teal, Marsh Harrier, Sand Martin, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Buzzard, Dunnock, Treecreeper, Goldfinch, Shoveler, Barnacle Goose, Canada Goose, Black Tailed Godwit, Avocet, Shelduck, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Redshank, Gadwall, Wigeon, Pied Wagtail, Herring Gull, Oyster Catcher, Curlew, Brent Goose, Sanderling, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Sandwich Tern and Grey Heron.

Species heard:
Nuthatch, Green Woodpecker, Bullfinch, Jay, Greenfinch and‘Brambling’.