Monday, 10 June 2013

Marvellous Minsmere

Time for another outing with the West Midland Bird Club, this time to RSPB Minsmere. The trip got off to a good start with a sighting of one of the BT Tower Peregrines just minutes after setting off, whilst driving through Birmingham city centre. After a long drive we arrived at Minsmere around 11, and straight away were directed by the helpful staff to the Stone Curlew pair with chick in the field beyond the Visitor Centre. They were skulking around right at the back on the edge of some woodland, maybe due to the very enthusiastic Stoat that was bouncing around in the field!

Home of Stone Curlews (and Stoats).
Whilst watching the Stone Curlews I noticed lots of this plant around in the short grass, another new one for me to learn:

I think it's Common Storks-bill (Erodium cicutarium).

We proceeded onwards to walk a circuit around the scrapes where we were treated to birds galore! Straight away we found Spoonbill - only the second time I've seen this species, and the first ones I saw were bleeding from gunshot wounds (in Malta) so this was altogether a more pleasant experience. 

Dreadful record shot of Spoonbill.
Some of the other highlights of our walk round included Garganey, Sandwich Tern, Little Gull, Kittiwake, Sanderling, Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Marsh Harrier, Cetti's Warbler and Black-tailed Godwit - a few year ticks for me there! We also encountered some ringers who had caught a whole family of Whitethroats, nice to see these in the hand - one of the adults had leucism leading to a few white feathers in its wing which was interesting.

A pair of Sandwich Terns.

I was pleased too to see Barnacle Geese (my favourite goose!) aplenty, didn't know that they bred at Minsmere as I assumed they'd all be further oop north. We also heard, but did not see, Bittern - we ran out of time unfortunately and only had a few minutes to look over the reedbeds.

Up on the beach there was lots of this plant, I often see it on shingle beaches and wonder what it is:

Sea-kale (Crambe maritima) - of course, it looks so cabbagey! Edible as well, but I think it's best cooked - probably wouldn't have survived the journey back to Birmingham.
Lovely shingle beach.

I did a couple of very quick drawings, I've found it's a bit trickier to fit in when I'm out on birding trips and we have a limited amount of time, compared to when I'm at Sandwell and spend all day sitting in the hide! So these are a bit brief and rubbish, still better than my attempts from the last Bird Club trip to Wales.

Rather oddly-proportioned Sandwich Tern and chunky Barnacle Goose sketches.
All too soon we had to leave Minsmere, it's the only problem with travelling from Birmingham - I would love to have stayed longer for a more extensive foray to find even more awesome birds!

No comments:

Post a Comment