Friday, July 07, 2006
Monty's Return Part 3
Saturday was another hot and sunny day, so we went to Strumpshaw Fen to look for more Swallowtails. We soon found a couple in a meadow near the visitor centre, having already had a cracking view of a Cetti's Warbler about 10 feet from us. Also showing well was a Barn Owl, at 10am! Presumably mouths to feed nearby! Good numbers of common butterflies and dragonflies passed us, as we walked around the reserve. Half a dozen Egyptian Geese on the river were slightly exotic, but not a great surprise in Norfolk. As at Minsmere, Hobbies and food-passing Marsh Harriers kept us entertained. A Green Sandpiper flew low over one pool, but landed out of sight. Several Swallowtails flew close by on a short boardwalk, but wouldn't settle for photos. Eventually, we reached a cottage, with a stunning flower border. A handwritten sign enouraged passers-by to walk up the border if they wanted to view or photograph Swallowtails. After about 20mins, 2 of them appeared, and landed briefly on nearby flowers. Stunning! We drove around Norwich, and headed for North Norfolk, in search of Montys. As we neared the viewing area, we saw a couple with a scope, looking over a gate into a field. Sure enough, the male Monty was perched on a hedge. We watched him for a while, before he flew across the road, behind a high hedge, and out of sight. Soon he reappeared with prey in his talons, and flew towards where he had been perched. His mate flew up out of the crop for a food pass, nice! When they both disappeared, we headed off to search for Turtle Doves nearby. A hot and frustrating hour gave a brief glimpse of one flying away from us, so we returned to the Montys, and immediately saw another food pass. A pair of Turtle Doves showed briefly and distantly on wires, before an immature male Marsh Harrier landed in a tree near us. It was time to head for home. However, this being Norfolk, there was still time for a spot more birding, this time on the east bank at Cley. 3 Cuckoos flew over calling, as we left the car, and good views of more Avocets, Little Terns, a Pink Footed Goose, and another Bearded Tit were had, before a pair of Marsh Harriers flew low in front of the setting sun. Time for beer!