Wednesday, 15 April 2015


I had been planing to go to Minsmere for a month and after a few changes of dates because of bad weather we finally got a chance to go, and the weather was perfect. After a four hour journey at 6 o'clock, we finally arrived. We started by going to Island mere hide and Bittern hide where there wasn't much, but whilst walking between them we got a brilliant view of a black adder fighting another male.

We then went over to North hide where we hoped to see the notoriously elusive Jack Snipes. We started be scanning the marshy area methodically but soon realised that it would take a lot longer than expected. Having been in the hide for about half an hour I spotted a small wader which at first we thought was a Jack Snipe but ended up being a Common Snipe when a RSPB warden re-identified it. After this my less patient sister went to to get lunch with my Dad giving us a bit more quiet without out her. After another half an hour I spotted another more promising tiny little snipe which the warden identified as a Jack Snipe. However we couldn't spend to long in the hide and had to join my sister and Dad for lunch.

Then we went back to the visitor centre for lunch. From are table we got a perfect view of the recently arrived Sand martins, excavating nests. Luckily it was quite windy so they were doing more hovering and gliding than fast flying.

We had a bit more luck from the North wall where a rather tame Bearded tit decided to put on a brilliant show, at the bottom off the wall moving around the tops of the reeds.

Having had luck with the first hide we hoped it would carry on when we went round the scrape looking for the Spoonbill, Sanderling and Garganey. However, we had no luck other than some Turnstones, Avocets, Redshanks and Ringed plover, and having been round went over to a sight where there had been sightings of Stone Curlews and a Woodlark. This did pay off but only just as me and my Mum were about to give up when she spotted two birds that at first she thought they were partridge but with a closer look we realised there true identity. Get in!!!!!! There was also someone who had been watching the Woodlark and we were only just quick enough to see it. All in all a perfect birding day.

Mute swan, Canada geese, Barnacle geese, Greylag geese, Moorhen, Koot, Great crested grebe, Little grebe, Grey heron, Little egret, Tufted duck, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoverler, Teal, Shellduck, Cormarant, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Jack snipe, Common snipe, Ringed plover, Redshank, Black-tailed godwit, Turnstone, Avocet, Black-headed gull, Herring gull, Great black-backed gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Red kite, Pheasant, Skylark, Woodlark, Stone curlew, Blue tit, Great tit, Coal tit, Bearded tit, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Linnet, Woodpigeon, Collared dove, Great spotted woodpecker, Blackbird, Treecreeper, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, Rook, Magpie, Sand martins, Swallow, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Starling, Heard a Bittern and Cetti's warbler.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Signs of Spring

With the rapidly increasing temperature I have been able to get out more and see the changes that have been going on outside. The early trees, Willow and Hawthorn, have already got leaves on and are getting the attention of nesting birds and some resent migrants. I went out this morning on my bike not expecting to see much, maybe a chiffchaff and the odd thrush. So it was a bit of a surprise when a Blackcap few within meter of me and perched in a near by tree as if he owned the place. It was a bit of a struggle to get my camera out from my bag so the pictures weren't to good.

 Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)

Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)

Having been round the lake twice I was about to call it a day, when I heard the unmistakable song of a Willow warbler (a falling pitch of notes). It took a while but after chasing the song round the reserve I finally got a quick glimpse of it in, guess what, a willow tree. But there have been more than just some summer arrivals. Woodpigeons have started nesting in near by pines and the Long-tailed tit nest I mentioned in my last post has got eggs in it. These though are not the earliest there has been a blackbird nest in the Oxford botanic garden with chicks in it. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me so I couldn't get a picture, and they have now fledged. Hopefully there will also be some more butterflies soon. I have though had a few peacock butterflies and a speckled wood.