Monday, 27 June 2016

End of Exam Celebration

Friday the 24th of June marked the end of my A2 exams, and to celebrate the end of an era I went out on a twitch! Chris was heading to Norfolk and following a quick call, we organized to leave at 3:30am.

My alarm relentlessly rang at 3 in the morning of Saturday and I forced myself out of bed. I gathered all m stuff together and we were on our way by 3:30. We made very good time and arrived at Titchwell just as news broke of the Great Knot at Gore Point, so we jumped back in the car and after 20 minutes drive and a short walk, we were looking at an adult summer Great Knot! What a start to the day, the bird hugged to the back of the group of Red Knot which made it difficult at points to see anything but the back of the head of the Great Knot. However, it's larger stature and speckled looking crown and nape made the bird still possible to pick out. To put the magnitude of this bird into perspective it represents only the fifth record for Britain!

Great Knot, bird furthest to right

When looking at it at such close quarters and in such striking plumage it is unmistakable, it has a larger build, black spots across its breast and orange-brown flecks on its scapulars and mantle.

Try and spot the Great Knot

This opened up the day nicely, since it was only 8 o'clock and we had already had a good amount of time to admire this stunning bird! We headed back to the car and made a quick plan to go to Breydon Water for the Caspian Tern, but stop off at Strumpshaw Fen on the way. It wasn't long before we were at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB and we made a short walk around the reserve in hope of seeing the seasonal highlight, the Swallowtail. We were incredibly lucky and had a view of one Swallowtail, just before it became overcast, fly past occasionally landing on some of the flowers out in the meadow. Unfortunately, it was to distant to grab any photographs, but I was thrilled to eventually catch up with this epic butterfly!

We then pressed on to Breydon Water where it began to rain, but after a short kerfuffle the bird reappeared and we were presented with good scope views of the Caspian Tern. It was barely mid-day and I had already managed 3 life ticks! A pretty successful celebration in my eyes.

Digi-scoped Caspian Tern

On the drive home we stopped off briefly to look for a long-staying Glossy Ibis in Suffolk, and then finally finished on Cavenham Heath. Here, after some effort, we were able to spot some elusive Stone Curlew. This rounded up the day very nicely, and on the way home I couldn't help but rest my eyes a little.