I headed off o Lakenheath in Suffolk for the Little Bittern which had mainly only been heard with the odd brief flight view if you were lucky , well always up for a challenge i set of at 5am Friday morning the 22nd May .
Very vocal Sedge Warbler.
I arrived at Lakenheath at approx 6.30am and made my way to the far end of the reserve which is called the New Fen North Triangle , i could hear the Little Bittern calling deep within the reeds , the call is described as " Barking " , i bumped into Adam F who has recently moved to Suffolk , great to catch up with him , we all then waited patently for the bird to either climb up the reeds or have a fly around , ( always the optimist), having heard that some birders have waited up to 10 hours before seeing this bird you could say i was being a little bit to optimistic , however after about an hour & a half the male Little Bittern flew up from the reeds and then landed further along the reed bed , only a brief view but cracking view it was , the bold wing patches being the obvious stand out feature in flight.
One of three Hobby.
Sadly i never managed a photo of the Little Bittern which was a lifer for Adam and a welcome year tick for yours truly. we all moved around the other side of the reed bed but could not locate the Little Bittern , lots of other birds were around including several Cuckoo's including one with a satellite tag ( could this be " Chris" from Spring watch ?? ), other birds of note were 3 Hobby , Grasshopper Warbler which i briefly saw , Marsh Harrier and a very showy Sedge Warbler (see above photos).
Adam very kindly gave me some info on a site for Stone Curlew and after spending a good couple hours here i decided to try for them , on route to the site i checked the bird news and discovered there has been a Broad Billed Sandpiper found at Tinkers Marsh which was approx an hour & a half from where i was , i did try to find the Stone Curlew site without success so i decided to head off to Tinkers asap.
Broad Billed Sandpiper.
I arrived (after a little detour) in good time and made my way along the river , i eventually joined the already gathered birders on site and was soon enjoying some cracking views of this delightful little wader , smaller than a Dunlin, with a really well marked head , slight kink at the tip of it's bill and lovely " Brace's" on it's mantle. I got a bit carried away with taking photos , however here is a small selection of them.
Dark crown stripe.
Slight kink on bill tip.
Smaller than Dunlin.
Size comparison: Curlew Sandpiper , Dunlin & BBS.
I watched this bird for a good hour and it really was a bonus bird , the first one i have seen since 1985 .
I also saw 3 cracking Curlew Sandpipers which were a very welcome addition to my year list.
One of three Curlew Sandpipers.
A really enjoyable days birding .