Saturday, 26 March 2011

Patch neglect

For the first time this month, I didn't pay my beloved Canons a morning visit. I said to Rob 'The Hob', Dan & Michael as we were leaving at 5.45am that today would be the day that a Wheatear would be at Canons. I was right. I'm not too bothered though, I will get plenty this spring, and I the prospect of my 300th British bird as a legitimate excuse for not giving the patch its usual treatment.

Can you see it? If not, you're not missing much

Arriving at 9.00am, a decent crowd of people were staring at the fort at Landguard with its mist nets and Greenfinch song playing. Within a couple of minutes everyone was shouting 'there it is!' and we saw a small brown bird fly clumbsily across a gap in the vegetation. If you say so . . . but I'm not ticking that. The wait was a bit tense but probably not as long as it felt, then the SHORT-TOED TREECREEPER finally gave itself up, showing well in a small tree. The differences between Eurasian and Short-toed are subtly striking and together create an impression of a rather different bird. A female/immature Black Redstart was also nice.

Spotted Redshank

There was little else around Suffolk so we decided to go to Minsmere. It is nearly five years since I first and last set foot on this reserve and it brought back some memories. A couple of Marsh Tits having a sing-off was great to see and other highlights included my first Sand Martins of the year and a Spotted Redshank while a pair of redhead Goosander at Island Mere was a very pleasant surprise.

Barnacle Goose

Time was getting on and we headed in a homeward direction. At Canons Ian and I showed Rob, Dan and Michael one of the Little Owls. Overhead movement of Meadow Pipit, Fieldfare and Redwing was noticeable towards dusk.