On a warm and sunny morning 19 members (including 4 new members who we were pleased to welcome into our Group) met in the Visitors Centre and received a warm welcome from the staff. As there was such a good turnout we decided to split into two groups and meet back in the Centre for lunch.
As we left the Centre (and indeed throughout the day) we could see and hear the beautiful song of a number of Skylarks and we stood for a while watching and listening to them. This was one of the highlights of the day and one of our members remarked that it was worth coming just to see them.
The Skylark is a small brown bird, somewhat larger than a Sparrow, but smaller than a Starling. It is streaky brown with a small crest which can be raised when it is excited or alarmed. It has a beautiful song that radiates through the air as the bird itself hangs suspended somewhere overhead. It is renowned for its display flight, vertically up in the air, which can last up to 5 minutes while the bird reaches the pinnacle of its flight, before slowly descending.
The two groups then went their separate ways round the Reserve, including visiting the two new hides, and spotted Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Wigeon, Shelduck, Greylag, Pochard, Mallard, Oystercatcher, Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Teal, Mute Swan, Coot and Gadwall out on the Reservoir.
Another highlight of the day was when a man with a telescope pointed out to us two Black-necked Grebes out on the Reservoir who were in the process of changing from winter to summer plumage. We stood for a while watching them diving; dives last about half a minute but they can stay under water for a minute or more.
Other birds seen around the Reserve were Crow, Magpie, Green Woodpecker, Rook, Pied Wagtail, Black-headed Gull, Meadow Pipet, Starling and Dunnock.
Water Boatman, Gorse, Teasel, Blackthorn, Willow, Birch Catkins, Coltsfoot were also seen.
After enjoying our lunch in the Visitors Centre some of our members left and the rest of us made our way to the entrance to the Car Park where a Firecrest had been spotted on a number of occasions over the past two weeks. Unfortunately we did not see the Firecrest but saw a number of Long tailed Tits, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Blackbird and a Peacock butterfly. A Chiffchaff and Wren were heard.
After leaving the Centre, 7 of us went to the Layer Breton Causeway where a large number of Cormorants were nesting in the trees. Also seen were around six Grey Herons, also nesting, a Chinese Swan Goose and a White Fronted Goose along with the other usual ducks and geese.
We all agreed that it had been a really good day and how fortunate we were to have had such lovely weather.
Birds seen: Skylark, Crow, Magpie, Green Woodpecker, Rook, Pied Wagtail, Coot, Black-headed gull, Tufted Duck, Shoveller, Wigeon, Greylag, Shelduck, Pochard, Meadow Pipit, Grey Heron, Little Grebe, Teal, Black-necked Grebe, Mallard, Mute Swan, Starling, Oystercatcher, Gadwall, Dunnock, Chiffchaff (heard), Long tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wren (heard), Robin, Cormorant, Chinese Swan Goose, White Fronted Goose, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Canada Goose, Blackbird. (38 species in all).
Other: Peacock butterfly, Teasel, Blackthorn, Willow, Birch Catkins, Coltsfoot, Gorse, Water Boatman
Joy and Chris recently spent an afternoon at Bradwell. The tide was low and there were hundreds of waders feeding in the mud. They spotted Curlew, Godwit, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Redshank, Oystercatcher and a number of Sanderlings. In the bird garden they were delighted to see a number of Siskins, Bullfinch and Brambling in addition to the usual garden birds. They also spent a day at Abberton early March and on the Lower Breton courseway spotted a Peregrine Falcon, 2 Buzzards, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel and Goosander. At the Centre they saw a number of Goldcrests and a Stonechat.
Meet 10.00 in Visitors Centre