Saturday, 29 June 2013

Fenland with friends. (Part 2)

Continuing from my previous post (Early Start in Suffolk) I didn't have to wait long before my companions for the day to arrive. It had been just over four years since Keith (holdingmoments) had spent a day birding with me in Surrey so while more caffeine was consumed we chatted as if it was only yesterday. I have only known Trevor (aka The Herald) via his blog postings but the immediate healthy banter between us suggested that this was going to be a good day regardless of what we may or may not see at RSPB Lakenheath.

As we headed off along the trail behind the Reserve Centre we were greeted by Goldfiches on the feeder plus Reed Bunting and Reed Warblers flitting in and out of the reeds. Further along the path the strident calls of Cetti's Warbler got us scanning every possible spot for any glimpse of this generally secretive songster but without success while the diminutive Wrens popped up everywhere.

As we arrived at the first watch-point overlooking the main reed-bed a Bittern rose up and flew away from us and was probably startled by a member of the reserve staff undertaking the morning survey. While being entertained by a family of Greylag Geese we quickly added Marsh Harriers, both perched and quartering the reed tops, Common Tern, Cormorant, Cuckoo's calling and in flight, Kestrel, Blackcap and a Kingfisher but no sign of any Bearded Reedlings.

There were a few Swifts but certainly not the numbers I had witnessed on my earlier visit some 10 days previously.

 
Our route then took us up onto the bank overlooking the river and over the distant farmland a low flying Barn Owl appeared to be attacked by a brown coloured raptor and they both disappeared. After what seemed ages the Barn Owl re-appeared looking no worse for the encounter ... our belief is that the Barn Owl was carrying prey and was probably successfully molested by a female Sparrowhawk.  


Moving onwards we eventually reached the furthest watch-point overlooking a more extensive reed-bed with more sightings of Marsh Harriers but we didn't locate the Common Cranes that were apparently in this general area. We did finally get views of a number of Hobbies hawking insects as we commenced our return route. 
 Grey Heron flying over.

With a lessening of bird activity our attentions turned to other wildlife. A Stoat dashed across our path while we were all trying to get shots of Reed Warblers deep within the reeds ... I wasn't successful!

The vegetation was carefully scanned for anything that our lenses might capture and for me this included Scarce Chaser, Azure Damselfly and Brown-lipped Snail but I bet Keith and Trevor have many, many more beasties on their memory cards. I was fascinated by a very tiny Moth (see image below) with exceptionally long antennae and somehow managed to catch one in my fingers but I couldn't get my pocket PowerShot to focus so Trev did the honours while it perched on my finger. We had no idea of its name so Trev dubbed it 'Frank's Finger Moth'!!

I eventually got a close up of another individual and thanks to Trevor's subsequent diligent research I now know it is a Yellow-bared Longhorn micro moth (Nemophora degeerella).

Another interesting creature was this Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn Beetle (Agapanthia villosoviridescens) with its velvety coat and two tone antennae.

Returning to our first stop of the day our patience eventually paid off as we heard the calls of Bearded Reedlings ....

.... and then a pair flitted across the water and finally settled on the feeder tray but unfortunately partially obscured by the waving reeds. Not an ideal image but for me it will suffice for now.

The voice of another visitor sitting close by rang bells in my memory and I was delighted to have a brief chat with a old acquaintance, Trevor Gunton a very respected ornithologist, who way back in the 1980's introduced me to many of the special birds along the North Norfolk Coast. I chuckled when he commented that we were both much younger then but he still had a glint in his eyes when talking about the birds we both love to watch

We returned to our vehicles and enjoyed a late picnic lunch while reminiscing over our day so far. For me this had been my style of relaxed wildlife watching in the company of two like minded friends but it wasn't to end here so you will have to stay tuned for the final installment.  FAB.

Linking to I'D-Rather-B-Birdin' hosted by Anni and Wild Bird Wednesday hosted by Stewart.

49 comments:

  1. Funny how going with a group increases your power of observance and then you learn techniques from each other.

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    1. Red, when you are all working on the same page it certainly helps the learning process.

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  2. Excellent post Frank and a great account (of the first part) of the day. A good variety of wildlife and friendly company always makes for a fantastic day out, and this was surely one of those days.

    I'm still sorting through my images from the day, I've got a few decent ones but the trash can, as usual, is doing good business!...[;o)

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    1. Cheers Trevor. It was good to put a face to the name and hopefully the trio can do something similar in the near future.

      I didn't take that many so had to make do with a few that I might otherwise reject!

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  3. A great account of a fantastic day Frank. Perfect weather and perfect company.
    The mini beasties certainly kept us busy for a while, and the Barn Owl encounter was one I'll always remember.

    Four years since Surrey? Let's not leave it so long till next time lol

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    1. Thanks Keith. I'm definitely up for a return fixture, just say when.

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  4. Nice post. Makes me wonder if I will ever get to meet another bird blogger in the flesh - and if (one day!) I will get to see the Bearded Reedlings - I tried far too many times to see then in the UK and always failed! Oh well!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Stewart. I distinctly remember my first sighting and after that it didn't seem so difficult to find (or more often only hear) the Beardies. I must admit on this occasion it did take them over 3 hours to appear!

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  5. HI Frank Well you boys certainly had a great time. That was a great read and good shots to go along with it. The only thing wrong was that i was not with you all!! Have a great weekend and I look forward to the next installment. Margaret

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    1. Margaret A. You know you are welcome anytime you are in the neighbourhood.

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  6. It sounds like it was a wonderful day for you guys. I have only met one other fellow blogger and it was such fun. I think that you really got some great images shares for your day too. That moth with those long antenae...my, my, they were long. Glad you waited to see how the Barn Owl incident turned out, and that all seemed well. Happy weekend Frank. Hi to Anita~

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    1. Hi Mary. Yes, it was a fun day. Bugs aren't usually my thing but they made an interesting interlude. The Barn Owl incident was quite unreal and totally unexpected. Best wishes from us both.

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  7. Hi Frank ....What a great thing to get to meet up and spend time with other blog and bird lovers!! Three old bugger ; ) having a blast doing what the like best !!
    I love those long antennae guys , I bet you could pick up the internet or cell phone service with them!!
    Thanks for sharing the day , it would be great to meet some fellow bloggers!!
    I did meet a couple from Virginia though, in Maine on vacation!!
    Hope all is well
    Grace

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    1. Hi Grace. Delighted to share my day with the other two b's!

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  8. That was quite a day! I sometimes see far fewer birds than that when I must turn to photographing creepy crawling things. Very nice images and interesting narrative

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    1. Hi Ken. Thanks. I only logged about 40 bird species and I've no idea how many other critters we saw!

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  9. Wonderful post! You saw such a great variety of birds. Your photos are magnificent!

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  10. As always a real treat when I visit here Frank!!! I've never seen the greylag geese before...and to top it all off, a family! Wow.

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    1. Thanks Anni. I'll have to find a few more images of the Greylag to post just for you.

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  11. What a great day! The creepy crawlies are very interesting.

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  12. It looks like a productive day! Love the dasher.

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    1. Cheers Steve. Also posted a few interesting Blue Damsels.

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  13. a great day. I love the Swifts. Especially their sounds.

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    1. NatureFootstep. You certainly know they are around when they scream overhead!

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  14. Sounds like a wonderful outing with your birder friends. The Barn owl sighting must have been a great sighting. And I love the pretty Bearded Reedling. Great post!

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    1. Eileen. Just a pity the Owl was too far away for any shots!

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  15. Great series Frank. Love the insects. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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    1. Cheers Gary. It was fun to get down close to the tiny creatures for once.

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  16. Replies
    1. Anne (cornucopia). Many thanks.

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  17. It's wonderful to spend time outdoors with like-minded friends!

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    1. EG CameraGirl. I agree and we should all do it more often.

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  18. Looks as though you had a good day out with great companions.

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    1. Hi John. As expected they made me feel very welcome and it was a cracking day of wildlife watching.

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  19. I understand you had a lovely day with your blogfriends out there!
    Very nice pictures and I think it looks almost as here in Sweden.
    I've never heard of Bearded Reedlings, funny birds! :)

    Thanks a lot for your welcoming back greeting, Frank!
    Nice to read! /Pia

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  20. Love the swift and heron flight shots! The longhorn beetle is very impressive!

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    1. Thanks Brian. I didn't have too many good pics to choose from!

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  21. I loved reading this post and those are great photos! Thanks Frank!
    Denise
    An English Girl Rambles

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    1. Denise. I'm delighted you enjoyed it.

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  22. A great place to visit and friends always make such experiences even better.

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  23. Looks like a great day out for all!

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    1. Karen. It was an enjoyable experience.

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  24. Wonderful post, Frank! The snail is really cool!

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  25. great opportunity to meet with fellow bloggers and birding companions, what fun you had. I especially liked the Bearded Reedlings Frank

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  26. Any day birding is a good one. Sharing the experience with others makes it special.
    Love all your shots and can relate to finding other wildlife to photograph!

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