Monday, 29 June 2009

Lakenheath is quite good

and Golden Orioles are a bit rubbish. Those are the conclusions I can take from this weekend.

The uber-camera came out in place of scope on this trip, since I didn't expect to be doing the usual Essex birding thing and distinguishing brown wader sized blobs at half a mile across marshland. And besides, I was still keen to play some more with the new toy. I was chauffered and accompanied by these people respectively, which was very nice of them.

Turned into a bit of a butterfly watcher on the early part of the walk, because they were everywhere and nothing poses for a photo quite like a butterfly. We had Small Tortoiseshell, Ringlets, Painted Ladies, Green-Veined Whites, a Large White, a probable Meadow Brown, and a definite Red Admiral before we'd even got round the first Poplar stand. A bit further along we picked up a Large Skipper - my first Skipper of the year - which hung around for a good 5 minutes, and gave some fantastic photo opportunities. Gratuitous butterfly photos below:

Small Tortoiseshell

Ringlet - notice the rings on the underwings. I had a wings open picture as well, but this is better

Red Admiral - The shallow depth of field pleases me

Large Skipper - tough call, but after much consultation with the butterfly ID book all were agreed

Pictures were somewhat less exciting on the bird front:

A friendly Reed Bunting

Sometimes having an expensive camera just gives you a better quality of blob

A yellow leaf that wasn't an Oriole

The birds themselves were quite respectable. I saw a brief sillouhette that everyone else said was an Oriole, and combined with the brief snatch of song Spooooooooonbillz and I heard earlier in the walk, and the cat call we all picked up on the way back, I'm giving it a tick. There was also some very nice booming from the resident Bittern which kept us entertained while we fried on a bench waiting for the Oriole to no-show.

My only other tick on site was a flypast Turtle Dove from the Crane/Harrier watchpoint, though I did get to see something I hadn't seen before on one of the lakes.

I actually think the young Great Crested Grebes look a bit smarter than the adults at this time of year

Other birds of interest were a few loud Cuckoos, one of which provided a brief cabaret in the trees where the masses were watching for Golden Orioles, a Hobby and singing Reed and Sedge warblers everywhere.

Other misc birds seen from the car were a Buzzard over Essex, and Yellowhammers on the way back from Orsett (year tick there). Parus apparently saw a Spotted Flycatcher on a wire in Lakenheath town proper, which is irritating because I didn't. He does this often. They all go into the book of grudges.

A good site, but too far away for regular birding. Next visit will probably be a winter one, hopefully on the way to some awesome Norfolkian coastal winter birding. Watch this space.


  1. "...hopefully on the way to some awesome Norfolkian coastal winter birding..."

    - with 'the missus'... :-)

  2. Definitely :-) I'm not driving it all on my own :-P

  3. Your camera is a bit good :)

    You having similar winter norfolk trip ideas then?

  4. It is the best thing I have ever spent money on. Except maybe Lucy. Maybe.

    I made the suggestion. She won't rest until she's seen Snow Buntings. It didn't take any arm twisting :-)

  5. just stumbled across your site and thought your grebe looks very much like our sungrebe !


  6. I can see the similarity
    (Sun Grebe looks like this for those who didn't know (i.e. me))

    The adult Great Cresteds are completely different though

    Always nice to have a random visitor :-)