Garth Peacock
Minsmere RSPB Suffolk

Archive

The past ten days.

Thursday 16th November 2017

Birdguides Photo of the Week

Wednesday 8th November 2017

A week in pictures

Friday 3rd November 2017

Nothing exciting

Tuesday 17th October 2017

An update from the last few weeks

Wednesday 4th October 2017

Iceland - Day 8 - Monday 12th June 2017

Thursday 14th September 2017

A quick visit to Norfolk

Saturday 19th August 2017

Back to Norfolk

Friday 14th July 2017

A break from Paperwork

Saturday 8th July 2017

View Blog Archive >>
Tuesday 4th April 2017

It has been a long time since I last visited the Suffolk coast, Minsmere RSPB in particular, so, last Tuesday, I forced myself to get up for an early start. It is almost a 2 hour drive for me from Cambridge and it was misty but forecast to clear at the coast by 9.00ish.

I arrived at the Minsmere car park at the crack of 9.00am to thickish fog and little wind. http://www.biao.org.uk/rolex.html I started the usual circuit, past the North hide toward the East hide and could hardly see either side of the path for more than 20 or 30 metres. Not promising. Nothing to see either and the view from East hide was no different. I decided to sit and wait it out.

A Bar-tailed Godwit in moult to summer plumage was feeding in front of the hide, just able to see it in the gloom. A few shots and very heavy contrast in processing helped to make an acceptable shot - just!!!

With the fog slowly clearing, I continued on the circuit, passed the sluice to the next two hides and saw nothing at all so I returned to the car and had my lunch, deciding to move on to Dunwich Heath as it is the time of year for Dartford Warblers to be on territory. Also, with the heath being at a slightly higher altitude, the fog may have cleared. Good move as the sun started to show through as I arrived in the car park.

First heading along the lower track, I saw one Dartford Warbler but it was flighty and never allowed a close approach. Returning, a kind birding couple said that one was being co-operative on the the other track where I found another photgrapher who had taken some good shots but the bird had gone to ground. Carrying on up the hill, I found two more pairs, neither of which came close and most long range shots were very soft. Eventually, I found out why. The morning fog had left moisture on the heather which was being lifted by the sun creating a sort of heat haze - not something I can remember coming across before. Only the odd shot was a keeper.

Thinking tjhat the day was going to be a washout, I made my way towards the car to see the original biao.org.uk co-operative bird on the top of heather only a few feet from the path. It was side lit and if I had tried to get to the sun side, I would have spooked it so made best use of the light as it was.

Not the classic pose with the erect tail but still a satisfactory result.

After that, the bird flew to the top of low dead bush and perched about a couple of metres from me, in perfect light, ruffled its feathers, gave me a song and flew off, all too close for my gear to focus on - I coudn't stop myself laughing, it was so comical.

Anyway, my main reason for the trip was a success. Must return soon for another try at the classic pose.