Wednesday 3 August 2016

Minsmere - Western Swamphen

I was about to emerge from twitching rehab? White Stork apart, twitches have been few and far between but I was about to escape from the cocoon of Venus Pool and spread my wings wider once more - courtesy of the Minsmere 'Peter' (Please NO!) , 'Purple Chicken' (OK?) or 'Cookie Monster' (yeah) depending upon who's description you read? It 'seems' to have impeccable credentials too......

An overnight stop in South Norfolk was on the cards for me anyway, I just had to pick the moment for the right bird? And when I woke at 3.30am and couldn't get back to sleep, I just went for it!

What's about today then?

A lively gallery always some 30-40 birders strong and constantly rotated with new arrivals! Will Scott briefly down on his knees here after a frantic marathon previous 24 hours!

The path with a view.... That's an electric fence designed to inhibit pushy togs?

I'd ticked it some 15 mins after arriving as it skulked through the reeds barely breaking cover and after a while you just sensed where it would emerge into the open? The clump of Marestail along the left hand margin - and it here it comes - the Purple Phrag-shoot muncher or Western Swamphen if you like?

Munching on the soft Phragmites shoots whilst held down by the feet!

It's one impressive bird, I didn't hear one murmer of dissent from anyone present and it wasn't a gimme, some folk had to wait an hour for a glimpse, never mind a pic or two!

Deja view - I almost always got the same outstretched leg shot!

A few closer crops of this mightily impressive Rail....

Just as well there were no bags or sleeping birders in the long grass behind us when this heavy tackle went through!

And what about us? The Little Egrets felt completely left out of the event!

And the East scrape was the usual productive place for waders with Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common sandpiper, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Ruff, Oystercatcher and Lapwing all seen from the East hide...

Also seen there: Little Gull, Sandwich Tern, Barnacle Goose amongst other decent birds whilst making a day of it all too far for photography.

Minsmere must have one of the busiest 'What's about' boards in the land?

PS I called in later afternoon at Swampies abode where it was close-show time but sadly directly into the sun! Should have been in this spot earlier and he could at least have eaten that emerging shoot!!!