Friday, 30 March 2012

Minsmere 29th March

With news emerging of 2 Penduline Tits photographed at Minsmere on Monday I spent a few hours after work trying to search them out. The photographer snapped them feeding on Reed mace near South Hide, so I headed here first. I diligently looked at each stand of reed mace but drew a blank, but I did find a pair of Garganey tucked away feeding on the pools south of South hide. I decided to spent the last hour of daylight in Bittern hide as I had yet to see one this year. About 20 minutes after getting in the hide a lone bird slowly emerged from the reed edge and began feeding.

Garganey, the female showing the distinct head pattern nicely.
Bittern feeding in the late evening.

Feather detail of Pheasant

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Glossy Ibis - Eastbridge

I spent a couple of hours after work trying to get some video of the Glossy Ibis which has been in residence at Minsmere/Eastbrdige for several weeks now. The bird often showed well but with the sun going down I was fighting an ever losing battle. A few digis and the video are the best I got, hope to get back soon.

Glossy Ibis - Minsmere/Eastbridge

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Minsmere - 18-03-12

A late morning visit to Minsmere was the order of the day with early spring migrants the target. Getting to North wall the first 4 of 5 Wheatears for the day were noted, all stunning males and looking even better when the odd patch of sun illuminated them. A singing Chffchaff was further proof that spring is just around the corner. The scrape was mainly covered  with Black-headed Gulls but a few Avocet, Dunlin, Turnstone and a Pair of Mediterranean Gulls were also present. Big gull numbers were down with only 30 odd loafing about. A couple of Caspians, one of which may have been a hybrid but didn't manage any shots of the primary pattern, were picked out. On the sea 3 Red-throated Divers, one in summer plumage, and a few Gannets were seen. Near the sluice the 5th Wheatear of the day put in a brief appearance. The levels was playing host to 400+ large gulls and a scan revealed about 5 Yellow-legged and a Caspian. The most interesting bird from my point of view was a herring gull type with what looked like yellow legs, the bird however as the photo shows was standing in water only letting the top inch of the leg to be visible. It also never lifted its head. Based on the colour of the mantle I suspect it was a Marsh Gull, or Omissis type Herring Gull and proves the not all Herring Gulls with yellow legs are Yellow-legged Gulls. The walk back to the carpark provided a couple of Whopper Swans behind south hide and a fly over immature Spoonbill.

Wheatear 1 of 5
omissis type Herring Gull? (standing in water just below centre, note mantle tone similar to Herring Gulls in flock to the rear) Yellow tops of legs just visible.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Gull on Gull action

With the number of large gulls increasing and a few Caspian Gulls being reported again at Minsmere Myself and Craig headed over to give the scrape a look to see what we could find and perhaps learn a thing or two. It soon became apparent that the turnover of gulls was minimal with most birds just loafing around or asleep. Several Herring and Greater black-backed were present with 3 or 4 Lesser black-backs, 2 Meds, 1 Common and plenty of Black-heads making up the rest of those present. It took us well over an hour to identify our first Caspain after a couple of false starts. 5 Yellow-legged Gulls of various ages were found and spurred us on. In the end, after almost 3 hours we found 3 Caspians, and 5+ Yellow-legged were identified and I think we both learned a bit more. Its good to try and put what you read into practise but I think just studying birds is more helpful in forwarding your knowledge.
A Lesser White-fronted Goose which flew in from the west was a couple of Barnacles was a very smart individual but had about as much credentials as the White-cheeked Pintail also on the scrape.
A Herring Gull was also found which had probably been rung in Texel, am awaiting details.

Caspians and Yellow-legged

2 more Yellow-legged Gulls, note difference in leg tone. 

Texel ringed Herring Gull

The Lesser White-fronted Goose, no rings and fully winged - must be wild!