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Monday, 23 June 2014

Short Toed Eagle twitch

Me, Mark and Darren did a twitch down to Ashdown Forest in East Sussex on Saturday for the Short Toed Eagle, this was the bird seen fleetingly in Dorset and other places over the last two or three weeks but has obviously found this area to its liking and has been showing quite well there over the last week and falling into a more predictable pattern. It was an early start and we were on site by 7am, the bird was first spotted around 8am although initial views were pretty distant of it sat on top of a small conifer at the bottom of the valley, when it started flying around it looked better and as it started heading back up the far side of the valley we thought that’s where we need to be, a bit of a trek through knee deep heather until we found a track then a climb up the other side but it was well worth it as we got several really good views, the bird flying right over us on a couple of occasions, I've seen them abroad before but this was a mega British tick for us all and my second new bird for the year. As we were down south we had decided to have a look for Adonis Blue Butterfly, I had found a site not too far away, Malling Down near Lewes, it was an old limestone Quarry and we eventually located a few “Blue” Butterflies flitting about but they were very active in the warm sunny weather and we spent quite some time chasing them around trying to get good views and photos unfortunately we couldn’t clinch them as being Adonis and thought them to be just Common in the end, a good few Marbled Whites there as well. After lunch we headed back via East Anglia with the lure of an adult Rose Coloured Starling at Lowestoft, it had been a few years since me and Darren had seen one and it would be a tick for Mark, the original plan was to call in at Minsmere for Stone Curlew and Dunwich Heath for Dartford Warbler as we passed, it was already late afternoon by the time we got to Minsmere and the area where the Stone Curlews had bred had become quite overgrown, there seemed little chance we would see them, a couple of Cetti’s Warblers sang nearby one seen flitting between bushes, chatting to another birder he informed us the Dartford Warblers had also become elusive with there being a stiff sea breeze so we decided to give them a miss and carried straight on to Lowestoft, or a garden in suburban Carlton Coleville to be more precise, the Rose Coloured Starling had dropped in to the Gardens and out of sight 10 mins before we got there and even though many common Starlings were up and down and gathering in a couple of bushes further down the road it was not amongst them, then after an agonising 30-40 mins it dropped in to the bushes, it preened there for 5 mins or so before flying up onto a roof then dropping back in the gardens where a kindly resident allowed us into her garden where it was feeding on a coconut. Hometime and we headed back to the A1 via the Brecks, with failing to see Stone Curlew at Minsmere we thought we'd pay a quick visit to Cavenham Heath, a good call we had five birds near the perimeter fence although even approaching in the car the birds took flight before we got close enough for a photo with just one landing not too far away, all in all though a good end to a mega day.
Ashdown Forest, Eagle country

initial views

it came closer

perched up for a while

attended by the local Corvids


Malling Down


Pyramidal Orchid

Common Blue Butterfly

a big percentage of young Starlings in Lowestoft

eventually their more colourful cousin dropped in

posing nicely on the roof

with sun


landed just too far away for a decent photo

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