Wednesday Night, May 5, 2010
I am running late tonight, after processing 39 pictures for Photos05, so this will be short, I hope. Today I was on my own, and I was up and out of here by about 8:15 this morning. I first went to a place called Westleton Heath, to look for Dartford Warblers. I didn’t find any, although I did get a good view of a flying Green Woodpecker, a lifer for me. About 9:30 or so, I went over to Minsmere, the reserve I had visited on Monday when it was so crowded because of the Bank Holiday.
Today I lugged my scope around the 2 mile trail that runs around The Scrape, an area of water and islands with lots of birds in it. There are five hides around the loop, and I stopped at 4 of them. I stayed the longest at the East Hide, as it had the light at my back, and it also has a good view of a lot of the area of The Scrape. My target birds were Sandwich Tern and Teal (a type of duck). I got those two, and others besides. I saw several Turnstones and three or four Little Terns – the latter were a surprise and I was glad to get them. I also had really great views of my second rarity of the trip (the Purple Heron at Dungeness was the first). This one was a Montagu’s Harrier, which has been seen at Minsmere for the last several days. It flew up several times, wheeling and swooping around, while the gulls harassed it. I could see all the markings very clearly, with great light.
I took some pictures (see Photos05), and I moved on around the loop. It was after 1 o’clock by the time I got around, so I ate my humble sandwich and banana while sitting on a bench in the sunshine. The weather was much better today than the last few days – partly or even mostly sunny with highs about 57 F. In the afternoon, a chilly wind came up, but it was nice in the sun, if you could get out of the wind.
After my lunch, I went back to Westleton Heath, to look some more for Dartford Warblers. It is a species that I won’t have any chance to see after this, so I wanted to try to find one. I stood at the edge of the heather and scanned back and forth for 15 or 20 minutes, and I was rewarded with three separate views of a Dartford Warbler, probably the same one each time. Victory!
I moved on and explored a couple of other areas nearby, but didn’t see any more birds of note. It was interesting to see the countryside and the coastline, though.
I stopped at my favorite store, Waitrose, in Saxmundham, and got some roast beef for tomorrow’s breakfast and lunch. I like that store. Things are expensive, but I don’t think they are necessarily that much more expensive than other stores here. Most food items are pretty costly over here. I paid about 10 dollars for the roast beef that I will have in two sandwiches tomorrow. Granted, they will be very fat sandwiches, but still, it was expensive. About 20 bucks a pound, I think.
Gasoline is expensive, too. I stopped on the way back to my little cottage to fill up, and it came to about 73 dollars for just over 10 US gallons of gas. About 7 bucks a gallon. My little car is getting about 28 miles to the gallon, but at 7 bucks a gallon, it is still expensive to drive around.
This is my last night in my cottage here, and tomorrow I move on to a town by the name of Bury St. Edmunds. There I will be staying with a guy I met through an online site called BirdingPal. He invited me to stay with him and his wife for two nights, and he and a buddy are going to take me out birding on Friday. I don’t know what my internet access is going to be while I am staying with Tom, but I will be tied up with him anyway, I imagine, so I will probably be pretty much out of touch for a couple of days.
It is after 10, and I need to get to bed, so I will see if I can get this up on the website, and then I will settle down for the night.