Sunday 6 May 2012

Suffolk Surprise

The plan today was to go to Norfolk, but with no news on anything by half eight, Muffin and I deceided Lakenheath would be a better bet. I promised him Garganey, Grasshopper Warbler, Bittern, Cuckoo, Crane, Marsh Harrier and possibly Golden Oriole. With the exception of the latter, we got the lot, and I have to say it was a most enjoyable stroll round. He's really growing up quickly, questions are a dozen a minute (of which I can generally answer about three), and he wants to see everything that moves. Today our luck was really in - picked up two drake Garganey from the viewing ramp soon after we arrived, and Gropper was reeling nearby. Two Cranes were on the margins of the first big reedbed you get to, and a Bittern flew over us on the next one. We witnessed a pair of Harriers passing food in mid-air, and Muffin spotted a Cuckoo in a tree that I had overlooked as a Pigeon. Nice. A real pleasure to be out with him, and may those monosyllabic teenage years remain a distant proposition.

A bite to eat at the splendid Walkers roadside cafe on the fiveways roundabout, and then onwards to Paxton in Cambridgeshire for the Black-winged Stilt I mentioned yesterday. It's an extremely long walk from the car, possibly even matching Trimley Marshes, but for such a great bird why not, and there were trillions of Warblers en route. Last time I was at Paxton was in 2008 for a Baird's Sandpiper; it's a great place, birds everywhere, and not many birders at all - hats off to whoever found it as the area is vast. When we got back to the car I checked my phone for the first time in a while and found out about a Tawny Pipit at Landguard. This was a much needed tick, and the only one I can recall that I could have gone for was also back in 2008. I was in Norfolk but never managed it, something about needing to be home or face the consequences..... Today might have been a similar story. It was half-three and ideally I would have been home at five as my parents were coming round for dinner. Luckily the good son in me prevailed, and so at five on the nail we arrived..... at Landguard. The Pipit showed excellently, and I was about to nab a top drawer photo of it when a four-legged friend flushed it. Meanwhile my parents called from outside my house; Mrs L wasn't in either. Oh dear. I figured that perhaps we ought to forego the photo opp and make tracks for home, which we did, arriving at precisely 108 minutes past five. So barely late at all really.

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