Sunday, 28 March 2010

Weekend Hat-trick!
After my great afternoon at Cromer yesterday & my Alpine tick, I was not even thinking of birding today. However, hearing that the another Alpine Swift was in Kessingland, WITH the Pallid Swift I dipped yesterday was too much. Before long I was heading back through familiar territory & this time with Phil who was off work & Savannah. This time the birds were obvious as soon as we arrived & although the Pallid remained high, both showed well above the caravan park & coastal houses. We returned to Woodbridge for lunch & then to our local ringing site for an hour or so quite contented. After catching a few Lesser Redpoll, a text message on my phone alerted us that there was something we were clearly not aware of! A dash for the pager & the jaw-dropping news 'Lesser Kestrel at Minsmere'! The nets were furled in haste & then a mad rush back to the house for optics, then a petrol stop before we were racing towards Minsmere. Upon arrival with the masses it was clear that the male (!) Lesser Kestrel had been showing beautifully but had been chased off by (amongst other factors) a Kestrel & headed NW. I was further gripped by meeting the finder & his amazing images of it! We had a frantic search for about an hour before the bird was relocated on Westleton Heath. How the car was not damaged I don't know in the car grid-lock mayhem during that hour. After a sprint across the heath - finally we had the bird, distant but fine enough scope views - phewwwww! We watched it come in & out of view as it hunted on the wing & perched occasionally on gorse bushes before it seemed to go up into trees & possibly to roost. Quite a day! Quite a weekend! No pics but a fine British tick! Hope it hangs around a while!

1 comment:

  1. Hi there,

    I'm a Suffolk birder but not a twitcher, and I just had to pick up on your description of the scenes around the lesser kestrel. I was watching it with my brother for about 30 minutes in the afternoon sunlight. The most amazing clear views as it fed and sat on fence posts. The reason it flew away was not another kestrel, at least not to start with, it was the Starsky and Hutch style arrival of twitchers, gravel spitting from under their tyres and car doors slamming. That initially pushed it down to the next field. My brother and I drove down and picked it up again and felt we should wait and pass it on to someone else. The arrival of another ravening mob, including a very shouty and aggressive well-known twitcher, pushed the poor bird off onto Westleston Heath wher I read it was later found again.
    Now I can imagine the aggression and stress that must accompany these (very largely) male twitchers on their travels, and the thought of arriving to be told that a bird's left. But until the twitchers got there, the bird was almost shaking our hands and explaining in a Spanish accent how it came to be there! To me birding is a fairly quiet and relaxing contemplation of the natural wonders around us. Not much of that at Minsmere yesterday.