10th September 2014
After a superb morning at Lackford Lakes it was time to move on to Cavenham Heath to see the autumn roost of Stone Curlews. For years I went to Weeting Heath only to see perhaps one Stone Curlew with its head sticking above the brow of the hill in a heat haze. But now that I have discovered Cavenheath I am a lot more successful in getting full views and, because of the time of year, less if any heat haze.
After a fairly slow approach along the very bumpy track from Tuddenham we arrived at the heathland site. This year the numbers of Stone Curlews had been exceptional and a few days before we arrived no less than 90 had been counted. As photography was the order of the day I had left the scope at home, but with just binoculars I could still count 37 during a rapid scan. Most of the birds are still distant but many are in full view and some even in small groups.
But then the unexpected. Another birder who just leaving said that he had seen a Wood Lark. I forgot to ask whether it was on the ground or a flyover, but later on another local told me about a bank further down the track where they can sometimes be seen. The problem with Wood Larks is that they are so well camouflaged when feeding on gravelly banks that you can flush them before you see them, and this is exactly what happened. Just as we were approaching the gate to view the bank, three Wood Larks flew up from the base of the gate and into a tree.
They eventually flew down into a bare area on the heath which allowed good views and a number of shots to be taken. They are of course not very approachable but we still got close enough for some reasonable shots. In the end there were eight birds and, I must admit, the last bird that I had expected to see when we left home this morning.