There's been a decidedly southern European feel to Minsmere this week - and I don't just mean the lovely warm weather.
The breeding stone-curlews continue to prove very obliging and popular, with good if distant views from the western end of the North Wall. We often have volunteer guides on duty to help you to see these shy birds without disturbing them. If there are no guides present, please only watch from the designated area and look across towards the fenced area.
We also still have a singing golden oriole in the Woodland Trail/Canopy Hide area, although it is only heard occasionally and seen very infrequently.
Adding to the Mediterranean feel, two glossy ibises arrived on South Scrape on Tuesday evening before relocating to the South Levels, where they remain this morning. What may have been the same two birds were also seen at RSPB North Warren earlier this week. See David Fairhurst's video of these birds on the Scrape.
At least one lucky visitor reported five bee-eaters calling as they flew north in the early hours of Monday.
Although more eastern than southern European, a female red-footed falcon has been hunting over the reedbed this morning, alongside several hobbies. In fact, it's been a good week for raptors, with at least two red kites seen daily for the last few days and an osprey over on Sunday. Both species were subsequently seen at RSPB Snape on Tuesday and Monday respectively. With the usual marsh harriers, kestrels and sparrowhawks, plus barn and tawny owls, Minsmere has been the place to come for raptor-lovers this week.
There's still a few passage waders on the move too, including knot, sanderling, greenshank, grey plover, common sandpiper and little stint over the last few days. A few black-tailed godwits are still present, and avocets and lapwings are making new nesting attempts after last month’s flooding.
Among the gulls on the Scrape, highlights include a few little gulls, a Polish-ringed Caspian gull and a yellow-legged gull. Sandwich, common and little terns are all still present too.
Elsewhere, nightingales continue to sing occasionally at the Work Centre and on Westleton Heath, a spotted flycatcher was in North Bushes yesterday, cuckoos remain vocal around Canopy Hide, crossbills are starting to move through on passage, bitterns are booming and the females are beginning to feed young, and the usual selection of warblers, finches and tits can be found in suitable habitats.
Stone-curlew by Jon Evans