Levington and Trimley 02.01.2016
Leader: Justin Zantboer
The first SOG trip of the year and the 14 members who attended were eager to stretch their legs after the holiday festivities and enjoy some birding. Fortunately the weather was on our side as it had been forecast wet and windy and, although still breezy, we escaped any rain.
The leader, Justin, had a slight change of plan this year. Instead of going to Levington Lagoon area he decided to continue on to Trimley Nature Reserve. We followed the track to Loompit Lake where a couple of Grey Herons stood on the far shore and a selection of wildfowl including Gadwall, Wigeon, Tufted Duck and Pochard were present. A Little Egret was on the saltmarsh and a Rock Pipit was along the river wall.
Heading along the path while climbing a rise, Bullfinch could be heard in the scrub, with two males and a female allowing excellent views, the red fronts of the males particularly resplendent. On the top of the rise we scanned the River Orwell with Great Crested Grebe, Goldeneye and three Red-breasted Mergansers found and on the river edge a selection of waders including Curlew, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Redshank and Ringed Plover.
On the far shore a number of Brent Geese were present and eight Avocets flew up river. On the track behind us a Robin hopped around collecting food sometimes very close to us.
Reaching Trimley retreat a couple went on to the saltmarsh and five Jack Snipe were found with at least two more Rock Pipits in the area. Scanning across the farmland a Buzzard was found perched in a hedge and a Kestrel flew across one way in front as a Jay flew the other. In the ditch at least one and maybe two Cetti’s Warblers could be heard and one briefly seen. At the far end of the retreat along the fence line a number of small birds were present and, on checking, we found male and female Stonechat, three Reed Buntings, Meadow Pipits and a Skylark. Further along some more small birds were found feeding on the track when Justin said one is a Lapland Bunting, a nice unexpected surprise. It showed well and allowed some digiscoped photos to be taken although the poor light and windy conditions made it difficult to get a clear photo.
On reaching the reserve we headed into the Winter Flood hide and found a lot of birds on the pools including Teal, some smart Pintail, Wigeon, Black-tailed Godwit with one bird surprisingly in summer plumage, a Snipe and a Marsh Harrier flew over. We decided to head back as the sky looked as if it may rain soon but not before admiring the Lapland Bunting again. Back at the car park we thanked Justin for an excellent trip, finding some good birds and an enjoyable day out birding with fellow SOG members.