A diary of my birding activity covering highlights and photos from my birding adventures. Mainly Norfolk (UK), occasionally beyond. I might mention the odd thing that isn't avian, but for moth and other insect news check out my mothing diary.

Sunday, 3 May 2015


Eight of us visited Minsmere today and spent most of the day there.  We started off at Bittern Hide from where most of us got flight views of a Bittern.  The best-looking bird seen from here, at least by those of us who were in the right position as it was right below us just in front of the hide, was this Goldfinch:

Goldfinch, Minsmere, 2nd May

A Water Rail kept running or swimming across the water from one patch of reeds to another, though my best attempt at photographing it was pretty rubbish.

 Water Rail, Minsmere, 2nd May

A pair of Bearded Tits were occasionally seen in flight and a herd of 6 Red Deer put on a show (as did a Stoat for most of the group, though I wasn't close enough to the front to see it myself).

Red Deer, Minsmere, 2nd May

Predictably Marsh Harriers put on a good show with food passing witnessed a couple of times.

 Marsh Harriers, Minsmere, 2nd May

A Cetti's Warbler actually showed itself briefly as it moved along the dyke running just below/in front of the hide, shouting its head off as they do.

Cetti's Warbler, Minsmere, 2nd May

As we headed up to Island Mere hide we encountered Small Copper and Speckled Wood butterflies before being distracted by warblers.  I was sure I'd heard a calling Garden Warbler among the Blackcaps that were belting out their song.  Eventually it showed just long enough for most of those present to see it.

Small Copper, Minsmere, 2nd May

Speckled Wood, Minsmere, 2nd May

Blackcap, Minsmere, 2nd May

Garden Warbler, Minsmere, 2nd May

Chaffinch, Minsmere, 2nd May

A bit further up was the new Adder Trail from where we all got a good look at a female Adder.  Quite a crowd had assembled there and with my 'scope being trained on the Adder and everyone wanting a look, it was a while before I could move on up to Island Mere Hide!

Adder, Minsmere, 2nd May

At Island Mere a pair of Otters kept surfacing and more Bitterns could be heard booming. 

Otters, Minsmere, 2nd May

We'd seen one Hobby from Bittern Hide but here I reckon there were 5-6 Hobbies on show for much of the time.

Hobbies, Minsmere, 2nd May

I heard a Whimbrel calling briefly and the best, or at least the most unusual, bird seen from here was when the Great White Egret did a fly-past.

Great White Egret, Minsmere, 2nd May

Gadwall, Minsmere, 2nd May

Back at the scrapes, West Hide or whatever it's called now provided views of a variety of waders, along with Barnacle Geese.  At the next hide, or at least from the path near the next hide, we could see Spotted Redshank and 3 Greenshank.  A Bar-tailed Godwit disappeared behind a bund before I could get the others on it so they had to make do with Black-tailed Godwits.

Spotted Redshank, Minsmere, 2nd May

Reed Bunting, Minsmere, 2nd May

From near the sluice I looked over towards the levels.  Three white blobs were so far off that I couldn't be sure if they were Spoonbills in the heat haze (which I suspected was the case) or Egrets.  I wasn't even completely sure they weren't Herring Gulls so bad were the views.  I was then distracted by seeing 3-4 Cranes wandering around.  As I got the group on these I completely forgot about the Spoonbills and didn't show them (sorry!) - but then again all that could be seen was 3 shimmering white blobs so they didn't miss much!  Turns out there were 3 Spoonbills there, so presumably my initial gut feeling was right.

Two of us popped in to East Hide from where Common Sandpiper was the only new bird seen.

I find Magpies difficult to photograph so a tame bird on the path back to the centre attracted my attention.

Magpie, Minsmere, 2nd May

At least 3 pairs of Greylag Goose were accompanied by 1-5 goslings:

Looking for Stone-Curlews was unsuccessful though a Wheatear was among the Linnets.  Finally these were taken while back at the cafe before heading home.

Blue Tits, Minsmere, 2nd May

Sand Martins, Minsmere, 2nd May

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