Broad-Bodied Chaser

Broad-Bodied Chaser
Wing Mosaic (Broad-bodied Chaser): Winner, Nikon In-Frame Competition August 2010

Spoonbill

Spoonbill
Spoonbill: Birdguides Photo of the Year 2012 Runner-up

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Dawn Chorus in Suffolk - 5th May 2012

After 3am start, I arrived at one of the Suffolk Heaths slightly later than planned at 6am, on a dull morning.  I soon heard what I had hoped to find - a Nightingale was singing in the distance.  After following the song for around five minutes across the heath I soon found the bird singing out in the open, on a branch overhanging a road.  The occasional car that whizzed past didn't seem to interrupt its beautiful sound.  The Nightingales legendary song has to be heard at least once, and never fails to amaze. If you've never heard one it's well worth getting up early for.

For the first time I managed to photograph a Nightingale.





After the Nightingale had concluded its morning efforts I headed to Minsmere.  Flooding made it impossible to walk around the reserves, and the wader scrape water level was incredibly high.  The Marsh Harriers and occasional Bittern were performing well:





I was tempted out of the Bittern hide as a Wryneck had be relocated in the North bushes.  It briefly flew very close before heading over to a rather distant sandy bank.

A walk to the beach produced several singing Whitethroats:


The flooded scrape was very different to its normal of birds at this time of year, with no terns or waders, and only a few Black-headed Gulls hanging on desperately to the few areas that remained above water.


At Hen Reedbed near Southwold only the Sedge Warblers were particularly active, singing within close proximity:


With rain coming down an interesting detour back to London through Suffolk to Great Livermore where a summer plumaged Long-billed Dowitcher had been present for a couple of days, although distance and rain made a decent shot of this bird impossible:


Interestingly, in an adjacent field on the way back to the car, I located two fabulous male Reeves's Pheasants feeding in a field.





A Brown Hare in a field made a brief appearance as it posed for a quick shot before going to ground:



Last stop was to find a Black-winged Stilt near Paxton Pits in Cambridgeshire.  After a two mile walk, the bird was located eventually on flooded fields.  Once again it proved to be a distant view of a wader, frustrating as this is one of the most spectacular looking rare waders to visit the UK.  After a brief fly around one of the islands the Stilt went to sleep, and it was time to leave for London: