Saturday, 29 March 2014

Dusky Warbler at Oulton Marshes

At last I had time today to make the short trip in to Lowestoft to look for the Dusky Warbler. We started lambing again 9 days ago so I spent last weekend hovering around the lambing field. Typically hardly anything lambed but I did at least catch up on various jobs around the garden and was in the right place when a Kingfisher rocketed up the dyke at the end of the garden, a Patchwork Challenge year tick.
It was quiet again in the lambing field this morning and younger daughter wanted me out of the way to prepare a Mothers Day surprise giving me the perfect excuse for a visit to the Dusky.
 I arrived on site at noon to find the bird hadn't been seen for 3 hours or so, when it had last been seen in a line of scrubby willows that stretched 100 yards or so back from the path. There was a small group of 4 other birders looking and after half an hour or so we heard it tacking softly somewhere in front of us. It was an hour before it was finally spotted creeping around in a tangle of willow branches and sedge low to the ground but the views were distant and into the sun. Moving closer down an obvious well worn path to a fence line, the by now just 3 remaining birders quickly got much better views of the Dusky as it reappeared in the same area and moved up higher in to the willows before flitting even closer in to an isolated bush and then on to bushes lining the main path. It was calling frequently making it easy to locate. Here I had another brief though excellent view of it as it came towards me right by the side of the path. It quickly flew in to the reed bed on the opposite side to where it had come from and disappeared.
Walking back along Fisher Row, Brimstone, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies were out in force and a familiar song revealed my first Blackcap of the year.
Back home, the ewes were sunbathing and I was banned from the kitchen by younger daughter for a further half hour. Judging by the dusting of icing sugar on the work surface, the unwashed cake tins and the recipe for butter icing open on the computer screen it looks like I'm getting a cake tomorrow.
Out on the marshes here, we still have 3 pairs of Lapwing, one pair of Redshank and a pair of Oystercatchers and the Marsh harriers, 3 pairs at least, have been displaying.

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