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:
Pictures were somewhat less exciting on the bird front:
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.
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.