Friday June 1st 2012, 0100hrs arrive home from wedding in Maidstone,0430 alarm goes,drag myself out of bed and get ready to travel to Suffolk and Norfolk with the Collins` and Barry Woolhouse.0515 leave Dover arrive at Lakenheath RSPB reserve about 0745,I managed to doze some of the way.
Cuckoos were calling along the trail and at least two gave good views,and then the unmistakeable call of the Golden Oriole rang out from the dense stand of poplars,it could not be seen though the song is wonderful in itself.We stood for a while waiting for a glimpse but the song suddenly started up in the third stand of poplars a few hundred yards along the trail ,so we moved on,the song returned quite close by but the bird remained hidden from view.Suddenly from the very top of a very tall poplar a bird took to the air ,I got the bins on it and there he was a superb male Golden Oriel flying quite high between the two woods,I stayed on this bird but the others picked up a female bird as well,so the first target bird was in the bag,as they say.
Other highlights here include booming bitterns,bearded tits,reed and sedge warbler,marsh harrier, hobby andcommon terns, in fact its very similar to Stodmarsh,but there is a pair of breeding cranes here,we saw the adults and were told there are two youngsters that occasionally pop up,last but not least a lonely whooper swan has had to stay here for the summer because of a damaged wing ,hopefully it will mend,time will tell.
Next was Weeting Heath a Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve where we hoped to see the elusive Stone Curlew.According to the sightings board the west hide had two birds and three had been seen from the east hide so our hopes were high as we set off from the visitor centre.Having sat in the west hide for about half an hour without any joy we stood up to go and lo and behold Martin had another scan round and found a stone curlew standing by the far fence line,ironically it could not be seen from a seated position,standing room only,brilliant a first for me in the UK.
The woodland walk added displaying tree pipit and singing willow warbler and a high flying display by a wood lark, and another stone curlew was found in the wood lark field.
At the east hide a pair of Stone Curlews were on view and were slightly closer so managed a few record shots.
So a successful and very enjoyable days birding concluded and it was time to do battle with the bank holiday get away,it took nearly twice as long to get home as it did to go up, a big thankyou to Martin for driving,excellent dayout.