Monday, 10 October 2016

An Unscheduled Visit to Cavenham Heath

28th September 2016

We had spent the morning at Lakenheath Fen which despite high hopes of Bitterns, Cranes and Bearded Tits turned out to be very quiet. There were plenty of Bearded Tits around but in the high winds they were very mobile and diving into cover at the earliest opportunity. So time to cut our losses and head for Cavenham Heath in the hope of some Grey Wagtails by the weir or even some Wood Larks feeding on the heath.

By way of a change we drove in from Icklingham and therefore approached the bridge over the River Lark from the other side. As soon as we crossed the bridge I thought I could hear a Wood Lark, but could not be sure due to the noise from the weir. However, as we continued on our way the call of the Wood Lark was unmistakable, but not just a wispy call but a full flight song.

As we approached the area I was still convinced that the bird was singing from the ground, but as it appeared to change position a couple of times I soon realised that it was actually singing from the air. Yes, this really is a Wood Lark and if you listen very carefully you can actually hear it singing!!

Wood Larks seem to spend a lot longer in the air when singing than Sky Larks, but it did eventually parachute down to a nearby tree allowing a couple of fairly distant shots.

But then it flew, amazingly towards us, and landed just 20 yards away but sadly hidden in tall wispy grass. This allowed some much closer shots but always obscured. Note the supercilia meeting at the nape.

These days I do not bother trying to photograph the Stone Curlews as they are always too distant and generally in a heat haze, even when the sun isn't shining. But today, as we were walking back to the bridge, a lone bird was sitting out on the grassy part of the heath and, although still a bit distant, better than usual.

Well that was all unexpected, and a Raven cronking overhead as we walked back to the car was an added bonus.

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