Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Terrific spring day at RSPB Minsmere

After a great few hours drinking cups of tea at the coastguard cottages and looking for elusive adders and ant lions, on Dunwich Heath and the beach, a small group of us went on to the RSPB reserve at Minsmere.

What a wonderful place. In summary we were there for an hour and watched muntjack deer feeding in the woods, red deer on the marshes, marsh harriers and egrets flying over the reed beds and astonishingly two bitterns wading in the shallows. I have never seen bitterns at such close quarters and we watched one creep back into the reeds, within 20 feet to the right as we arrived at the appropriately named bittern hide, and then 10 minutes later a second stalked out of the reed beds to the left and caught a small fish in amongst the reed stems. I was so taken aback by seeing bitterns at such close quarters that I had my camera settings all over the place and didn't get very good photographs. The second bittern was out in the open for at least 5 minutes and struck all of the characteristic poses with its thick neck out straight, peering into the sky and then down again into the water lifting its large feet and green legs as it stealthily stepped amongst the reed stalks. So pleased that Alexander, my seven year old son, was able to watch the bittern through the binoculars and at one point we could see a bittern, a marsh harrier and a herd of red deer at the same moment. Walked back smiling, via the hide over the scrape, and amongst many other things we saw a water vole in the path-side dyke, heard a cetti's warbler calling and listened to the distant haunting bottle top boom of the bittern.

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