Bluethroat Pilgrimage! 24 February 2017

A showy wintering male Bluethroat proved to be too tempting to miss! Having seen dozens of photos of it I almost felt like I'd already seen it before I went but it had to be done.

I arrived at Willow Tree Fen near Spalding at about 09.30 after a frustrating drive over. Initially the bird wasn't on view but within about 30 minutes it popped onto the main track briefly. Then, over the next hour it showed 3 or 4 more times feeding on the verge and the track in between spells out of view in the reedy ditch that was alongside the track. The last view was amazingly close as it popped out right in front of me just the track width away! This nice little fen has loads of potential and having hosted a couple of rarities already I expect more will follow. The only other things of note I added were Common Buzzard, Reed Bunting, Fieldfares and a Brown Hare.

Next up on my developing agenda was the reserve at Deeping Lakes. This proved a pain to get to due to a road closure but I made it eventually. After a short walk to the main hide I was soon watching 2 Long-eared Owls at roost on the island in front of the hide. They were quite distant and mostly concealed so it wasn't exactly a spectacle but you could see half the face and one ear tuft of one of the birds! On the same pit were an impressive 32 Goldeneye amongst the Tufted Duck and Gadwall but not much else to delay me.

My last visit of the morning before heading back to Norwich was the River Welland south of Crowland Bridge where this time I found the female Long-tailed Duck very quickly after Jus and I failed 3 weeks ago. Another Common Buzzard, Little Egret and 2 Little Grebes rounded things off.


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