Minsmere

Most of us were truly knackered after Tuesday but John got up at 5 to reccy Westleton Heath for Woodlark. He succeeded but when the rest of us got there (after a very nice breakfast), the birds were playing a little hard to get. We heard Woodlark, saw the Nightingales and had great views of Dartford Warblers.
Some Crossbills also put in an appearance for the group as we set off to nearby Minsmere.
The last time I was at this flagship reserve was about 23 years ago and the reception area had changed quite a bit. However the birds hadn't changed for the most part and the reed beds and scrape were full of the thing we reasonably expected to see. I just love Little Terns, so one hovering outside the East Hide was manna for me. There was a good supporting cast with a very rusty Sanderling being strung by most as a Little Stint, a Purple Sandpiper (!) and a very rusty Cuckoo that looked almost scarlet as it flew from the beach to the woods. Three Bitterns flew high over the reedbed - everything gave wonderful views - even a Cetti's Warbler (eventually). John was relieved to see a Med Gull (he'd never had lived with himself if he hadn't) - a bird we have more of in sunny Lancashire! However I wish the birds were as confiding at Leighton Moss.
Next was a bit of a drive into Norfolk to the Great Ryburgh raptor watchpoint. I wish we'd taken the ring-road. After a traffic jam south of Norwich we eventually arrived half an hour too late and though we spent the next two hours searching for the elusive Honey Buzzards we had no joy - more Hobbies though.
Eventually we made our way up to our overnight stop near Fakenham and headed out to see Montagu's Harriers. It was getting cold again with a keen wind from the east but just as we were giving up I noticed a male over the next field and our appetite was satiated - which is more than can be said for the meal we had at the White Horse Inn! We settled back and watched the second half of the Champions League Final. Allegiances were split along which team you liked least. I was glad that the northern team won so I'll leave it at that.

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