The day before yesterday I drove down to Thetford in Norfolk to spend a day birding with my mate Paul Stancliffe. The plan was to drive down in the evening, drink beer and whisky that night, get up early the next day (!) and have a day birding Lakenheath RSPB reserve. That plan was scuppered before I set off as news came through that the RSPB had closed the reserve for two days due to expected high winds. Presumably they were more than a bit worried about trees blowing over and crushing your optics...or worse. So we decided to stick pretty much to the beer and whisky bit but just do a bit of local birding around Thetford before the gales and torrential rain arrived. According to the Met office this was expected around one o'clock in the afternoon.
On Tuesday I set off and decided to call in at Twyford Woods in Lincs. to have a look for both Grizzled and Dingy Skipper butterflies as these are pretty much a certainty at this site in early May. But obviously not when the wind was gusting at around fifty mph, the rain was coming in in horizontal sheets and the skies were leaden. I spent three hours waiting for the weather to improve, got a photograph of a Butterfly Glade sign to remember the place by and a picture of a weird tower in the distance and then gave up. I did hear my first Cuckoo of the spring though and it sounded very much like Chris!
|Clear and obvious sign indicating good place for butterflies. No butterflies in high winds, rain and general miserableness!|
|Great big tower thing near Twyford Woods. Water tower? Something to do with the old airfield? Used for shooting deer/pheasants/rabbits? Perhaps a butterfly observation tower!|
|Red Kite in the village of Piddle-Down-the Drain, Cambs.|
|Same bird coping better than me with the wid.|
|Curlew from the hide at Nunnery Lakes|
|This bird was present for nearly a minute!!!|
|Pied Wagtail.....near Thetford!|
Next stop was a site not too far away for Nightingales. This was a small site comprising mainly, gorse, bramble, hawthorn and dog-rose and although it was close by the road and seemingly popular with dog-walkers we heard three singing males and had decent views of two birds. I even managed a few reasonable shots of one of the birds delivering its song. This is a species that, I think, is better heard than seen. I can stand around for hours listening to these birds.
|Nightingale singing. You can tell that we are near the BTO HQ in Thetford...the bird's been ringed!|
|Finally...a butterfly. Female Orange Tip|
|And another... Small Copper.|
|Chaffinch... clocking me clocking him!|
P.S. check out Paul's new book here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_9/279-7893031-7606964?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=bto%20guide%20to%20british%20birds&sprefix=bto+guide%2Caps%2C146
This is the brand new Collins - BTO guide to British Birds. This is volume one which deals with the commoner birds. Volume two, which tackles the rarer and vagrant species, is due in the summer.