With the weather looking good, I decided to head over to East Anglia for a weekend to tick a few birds off the year list. Bittern, Crane, Cuckoo, Hobby, Woodlark, Stone Curlew and Turtle Dove were the main targets.
Turtle Dove was top of the list, having not seen one since the mid-80’s when I was far too young to realise chasing one around my grandparents garden probably wasn’t the best thing for it’s health(it flew off safely).
The RSPB reserve at Lakenheath was the first place to visit. An early evening trip was good for the hoped for Cuckoo. Three birds showing and calling. A quick walk to the furthest view point revealed at least 5 booming Bitterns, some seemingly only yards away in the reeds. Within 30 minutes one flew by, incredibly close, at eye level. Where was the camera? in the bag, argggghhhhh! No hoped for Common Crane, so back to the car before dark.
Out early the next morning for a trip to RSPB Fowlmere, Turtle Dove the target. Arriving at the reserve by 06:30, a few Corn Buntings were singing from the telephone wires on the road in, bonus bird!
After spending a wonderful few hours walking around the reserve, I’d ticked Barn Owl (unexepected as it was at 08:30 in broad daylight) and Marsh Harrier. A couple of hours away from the reserve at IWM Duxford indulging in my other hobby (Aircraft), and then back to Folwere for an afternoon stint looking for Turtle Doves. Hobby, Red Kite, Reed Warbler and more spectacular Marsh Harrier views topped the day off. Sadly no Turtle Dove 🙁
After the disappointment of missing out on Turtle Dove at Fowlmere, I headed to Weeting Heath for Stone Curlew and Woodlark. Checking the rare bird news services, Turtle Dove had been seen (or at least heard) a few times at Weeting over the previous days, bonus!
I can’t believe how close the Stone Curlew are to the road, and how easy they are to see. Three birds seen within a couple of minutes of being in the hide, just a shame about the heat haze. The woodland hide gave brilliant views of Yellowhammer, Marsh Tit and Blue Titand the off for a walk and those pesky, hard to find Doves. Sadly there were none to be seen, or heard. Woodlark were also absent, but a super smart Tree Pipit and at least four Green Woodpecker were a great bonus. Back to the Woodland hide for more Yellowhammer, and then a Spotted Flycatcher flitting around. Not a bad weekends trip.