Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Blacktoft Sands

Saturday we headed over to Blacktoft Sands (another fruitless search for Bearded Tits, I swear they see me coming and hide) and ended up spending nearly the whole day there. It was sunny and warm for the most part, there were a few clouds but they were welcome for me I don't do well walking in the hot sun!

Stopping in the reception hide we picked up a things to see sheet for my daughter and spoke briefly to the volunteer there today.

From the Xerox hide we watched a Marsh Harrier (in fact we saw Marsh Harriers all over the reserve today!), Redshank, Black Tailed Godwit, Avocet, Wigeon and Gadwall.

The Marshland hide was fairly quiet, more Godwits, Gadwall, Avocets and Lapwings. A chap helped point out a hidden Green Sandpiper so we could tick it off the things to see sheet. We sat in there a while but no sign of any Bearded Tits of course.

A Red Admiral was flying about outside the hide and when we came back out it landed on my husbands t shirt! It was looking a little worse for wear around the edges (the butterfly not the t shirt).

Walking along the Ousefleet trail we saw more butterflies - Meadow Brown, Large White, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Small Skipper. I spotted our only Ladybird of the day and there were Soldier Beetles everywhere.

By the Ousefleet Screen a Reed Warbler was in the grass by the edge of the water and there were quite a few dragonflies but they were too far away to see what they were.

A pair of Linnet were on the floor out in front of the hide and the beautiful Konik ponies were out in force. We watched a Marsh Harrier and also a possible Curlew flying over.

It was time for lunch, a stop for a tea in the reception hide where we saw a large black ground beetle, which the volunteer caught in a bug id jar for further inspection. We snagged a picnic table by the car park, which was a bit of a mistake, a Woodpigeon kept flying into the tree above our heads dislodging twigs and bits of tree all over the table. It flew across to another tree carrying sticks. My daughter could only stand it so long and when it sent down a foot long twig that narrowly missed her food she was off to sit by the car instead! We sat and watched the Tree Sparrows as we ate.

After lunch we headed off to the hides down to the right of the reserve. The first hide was quiet, there were Coots, Gadwall, Little Grebes, the ever present Marsh Harriers.

Moving on the Townend hide had Green Sandpipers, Woodpigeons, Avocets and the odd Crow. We sat a while in the Singleton hide watching Swans with cygnets, Little Grebes, Herons, Ducks and of course the Harriers.

We decided to check the Xerox and Marshland hides again before we left. I'd somehow missed the Spotted Redshank so wanted to check for that as it's a new bird for me. We sat upstairs for a while and saw plenty of them, goodness knows how I missed them earlier! A Little Egret walked along the pond at the back and then I spotted something in the reeds right at the back of the pond - a Water Rail!

Sitting in the Marshland Hide we had it mostly to ourselves and sat there quite a long time. There were Godwits, Gadwall, a Heron, Little Egrets, Avocet and every few minutes swarms of Sand Martins flew in across the water, spent some time swooping around it before moving on.

It was wonderful to watch

After stopping back at the reception hide we saw a lot of Cinnebar moth caterpillars on the way out. 

A few other photos from the day

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