Tuesday, 16 August 2011

In the summertime

Summer can be a relatively quiet time for birding and indeed July was fairly unproductive for us, but things have picked up with the arrival of August...
I spent the first week of the month in the Scottish highlands with Carolyn, Malcolm and Kate, watching Ospreys, summer plumage Black-throated Divers and Slavonian Grebes on tranquil lochs; Dippers in boulder strewn rivers; and Bottlenose Dolphins leaping out of the sea at Spey Bay. Another highlight was a visit to ‘The Potting Shed’ – without doubt one of the best tea rooms in Britain. Where else can you sit eating the most delicious cake while watching Coal, Blue and Great Tits, Siskins, Chaffinches and Red Squirrels on feeders a metre or two in front of you?

A day after returning from Scotland we were in Lincolnshire for our annual boat trip out of Boston into the Wash aboard the Boston Belle; followed by an afternoon visit to Frampton Marsh where these two young Sand Martins were being enticed out of their nest burrow by the parent birds [click on the photo to zoom in– they are cute].

This may have been one of the last times they were in the nest because very soon after the photo was taken I watched them launch themselves into the big wide world.
And coming more or less up to date, last weekend we visited Suffolk. RSPB Minsmere was fairly quiet, although we were pleased to see a party of five Lesser Whitethroats flitting through some Hawthorns not far from the visitor centre. And this Cape Shelduck was an interesting escapee...

After lunch we went to Sizewell beach with the aim of finding some Little Gulls which had been reported there. They were soon spotted just out to sea, flying around one of the rigs. While there we couldn’t resist a quick look to see if the Sizewell B Black Redstarts were still in residence – and fortunately they were.  I always find it slightly baffling that these birds choose stark industrial sites to raise their young – but they do. Here’s one of the young birds, completely at ease in its playground of barbed wire and stone walls.