A little sojourn to East Anglia
It didn't take much persuading to get me to go to East Anglia for a few days with a few friends. Tim and Janet picked me up early on Tuesday morning and we met up with John and Bill (who'd got up even earlier) at Fen Drayton in Cambridgeshire. It was 9am and a beautiful sunny morning as we stood by the road admiring the singing Sedge Warbler and the first Hobbies of the trip.
The bird we'd come to see was a female Red-footed Falcon that duly obliged giving us some tantalising semi-obscured views before joining the local Hobbies in searching out various odonata for breakfast. A splendid start.
We had spent a good two hours here and though we knew it was rather late, we decided to head to Lakenheath to see what we could find there. The Orioles were in the farthest plantation so we set out on the trek along the riverbank to see if we could get a glimpse. En-route we were serenaded by what seemed hundreds of Reed Warblers and then treated to an amazing show by at least eight Hobbies. The latter are rare in Lancashire so to get such great views over a prolonged period was amazing - they continually swooped low over the river feeding right next to us.
The Orioles in the mean time had started calling as had the local Cuckoos (again giving some fantastic views) but only I was looking in the right place as one briefly flew below the canopy. A further hour was spent in vain but the surrounding birds were entertaining as we made our way back.
Next it was to our overnight stop at Aldbrough having quickly visited some excellent Stone Curlews. We dumped our stuff, stuffed our faces with some delicious Fish n Chips and headed to Dunwich Heath where it was COLD!
The Dartford Warblers were being rather elusive to Bill (for whom it was a lifer) and he was never in the right place when one popped up. Eventually we gave up and headed for Westleton Heath. It was starting to get a bit dim and the Nightingales were singing their socks off - they were clearly unimpressed with my imitations and showed me how it was done after every attempt - but show, they did not.
We headed a little way onto the heath where a gathering crowd was waiting for the evening's Nightjar performance. I thought it might not last long considering the temperature but virtually as soon as we got there one started churring. Soon, the flight call was heard and we all got a pretty good view of the bird as it headed over the heath. A lovely end to a tiring but very pleasant day - we headed back to the warmth of our beds and a good night's sleep.