short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Dartford Warbler and a few other surprises!

 I decided to head to Dunwich for my first Dartford Warbler, although i had been told of a pair at Keeling Heath last month by a couple of local birders i thought best to leave them alone and head to a more established area. I had read up on the breeding success at Dunwich Heath in a article last year so hoped to find some nice singing males.
 But firstly i nipped into a site between Minsmere & Dunwich which i heard was good for Crossbill & Wood lark (possible Dartford Warbler too).I parked up and before i had walked any where i had a cracking female Redstart in my binoculars! I didn't expect to get this bird here or any where on my travels as i know these are a rare breeding bird in these areas, so felt really privileged to have it in front of me.I watched as she went back & forth to a small tree.I patiently waited till she flew out and waited for her to return.When she did she perched up on a branch which made for a nice picture.

Female  Redstart
 I hoped to see the male but was not lucky enough to see it. I did however get 2x Crossbills over head which then dropped into a tree nearby.I managed some ok views but they could have been better( i find i often saying this!).I scanned for any Dartford Warblers or Woodlarks but no luck so i decided to leave here, a very happy boy with 2 super birds under me belt and headed for Dunwich heath .
 From Dunwich Heath car park i took a look around,immediately realising how huge this place was.I decided to make my way down at a slow pace, listening out for any singing Dartford Warblers as i go.
 It was after a few minutes that i got my first buzz of excitement....a super male Stonechat out on some gorse.Now although ive had a few of these over the couple of years of birding , they've been in the winter plumage.To see this male in its bright summer plumage was pretty special for me.

male Stonechat
Dartford Warbler(no.236)
I continued walking and after a few overhead Linnets and another pair of Stonechats i finally heard a singing Dartford Warbler.I started to try and home in to where it was coming from & then a quick movement up to some gorse caught my attention.I got on it but it flew down to the next gorse, then up again- a singing Dartford Warbler was out on show! I just sat down on some near by logs and watched & listened to its song.As i watched it ,it soon came clear to me that it was some what agitated.At first i thought it was possibly me but i soon noticed it kept flying over towards some bush and then back again away to my right. I kept looking around and then i heard another singing Dartford Warbler ! I now had 2 singing Dartford Warblers in my sights.I soon realised that they were both holding territory , and the small bush that the one i was watching earlier going back & forth to seemed to be where both the territory's met. It made for good watching and after about an hour i decided to head off,and as i did a cracking Cuckoo whizzed by over my head.
I really only scratched the service of this huge heath.I had a total of 4x Dartford Warblers, 5x Stonechats, 3x Oystercatchers and a flock of Linnets among other common birds.
Another nice mornings work.
 Happy Birding,
    Shaky


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