Juvenile Glossy Ibis – a Felbrigg ‘first’!
It was just after dawn when I started to make my way down The Street, towards Felbrigg Park. Just outside the village five Siskin flew over calling. There was a pair of Bullfinch at the corner with Lion’s Mouth and a Muntjac in the field. As I made my way down the central track towards the Lake a large pipit flew up calling from the edge of the water meadow, just beyond the small pond. It took me a while to ‘tune in’ and despite the poor light I noted the proportions of the bird -bulkier and longer winged than Meadow Pipit, long tailed with white outers. A probable Water Pipit I concluded, but the bird had flown off towards the Lake and was lost to view! I spent some time looking at the mass of dabbling duck on the flooded meadow and watched two ‘stranger’ Mute Swan fly down to the Lake, only to be seen off by the ‘family from hell’, and quickly return to the water meadow. I’d just got beyond the reed bed, when the same pipit flew up from the edge of the Lake, calling – a couple of single ‘sweep’ notes, quite sharp and short. This time I noted rather plain grey head & nape and pale underparts. The bird flew strongly towards the dam and was lost from view. I’ve been watching several Water Pipit at Cley NWT for the past few weeks and I’m confident in the identification, though it would be nice to get better views I admit.
I got back home, posted the news of the pipit and got on with some Bird Club work. Then the phone rang, it was Simon who, whilst looking for the pipit, had flushed a Glossy Ibis..!!! I quickly finished off what I was doing and headed off to the Park. Simon phoned again to say that they’d relocated the bird feeding in the rough grazing meadow below the dam. My pace quickened. The bird, an obvious juvenile with mostly dull buff/brown plumage, ‘furry’ neck feathers and little visible facial markings, was very confiding as it fed busily around the muddy bridge, which spans Scarrow Beck at this point. A double bonus was that, for a time, it was actually in Aylmerton parish!
I went back in the afternoon to have a second look. The bird was still in the same area but viewing was made difficult by the low angle of the sun. There’d been a report of a Jack Snipe in the rough grazing meadow, flushed by birders, as they went looking for the Ibis after it temporarily went ‘walk-about’. Jack Snipe would be a Felbrigg ‘tick’ for me so Simon and I did a controlled walk through the area. We’d nearly got back to the start when a small, dark, short-billed snipe took silent flight and flew low towards the dam – bingo, Jack Snipe!
Friday 13th was certainly not unlucky for me today. Two firsts for Felbrigg and a Felbrigg first – it doesn’t get better than that! For more photos go to Trevor On Tour