8th January 2012 - Minsmere

After a very long day of pub crawling in anticipation of organising my birthday pub crawl, Stuart made the excellent suggestion of driving up to Minsmere the next day.  We have a very long list of places we want to go birdwatching, but Minsmere had always been top, so I instantly became a very excited 5 year old on Christmas Eve.  Stuart managed to get up in time this time, so at 8 o'clock we met our friend Ben and piled in the car to do to the long trip to the Suffolk coast.  I got three for my list on the way - Buzzard, Carrion Crow and Kestrel, but after an 'Olympic' breakfast, I wasn't feeling up to looking anywhere but straight ahead until we got close to Minsmere.  In going the wrong way because of a heated debate as to whether the peacock we had just seen was real or an extremely good statue, we added Shelduck and hundreds of pigs to the list for the day. 

We had a great time wandering around the reserve, although we did miss the place down by Sizewell where the Bean Geese had been - doh!  We also chanced upon a birder commenting upon the Smew - we'd have never have spotted it, thank you to that birder!  Is it just me or is walking on stone beaches really really tiring?  Stuart heard a strange piercing squeaking noise and after further investigation whilst Ben and I chatted to a Mute Swan family, he came face to face with an otter!  Bit jealous of that one although we did see an otter playing on the main lake as the sun set.  We also have an ambiguous swan spotting as we were convinced we had seen 2 Whooper Swans but a birder back at the visitor's centre insisted they must have been Bewick.  Hmm.  We spent a good 6 hours there and were the second last people to leave after finding our way back to the car park in the pitch black, encountering both Red Deer and Muntjac Deer, amongst lots of inquisitive squirrels. 

1) Rook
2) Starling
3) House Sparrow
4) Pheasant
5) Blackbird
6) Wood Pigeon
7) Magpie
8) Black Headed Gull
9) Robin
10) Chaffinch
11) Blue Tit
12) Great Tit
13) Goldfinch
14) Avocet
15) Wigeon
16) Lapwing
17) Shoveler
18) Teal
20) Mallard
21) Canada Goose
22) Greylag Goose
23) Moorhen
24) Goldcrest
25) Cormorant
26) Pintail
27) Gadwall
28) Dunlin - NEW FOR LIFE LIST!
29) Smew - NEW FOR LIFE LIST!
30) Turnstone
31) Great Black-Backed Gull
32) Herring Gull
33) Common Scoter
34) Bearded Tit
35) Marsh Harrier
36) Mute Swan
37) Whooper Swan
38) Goldeneye
39) Green Woodpecker

My year list for 2012 comes to 46.

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