|Gathering of the clan, from left to right: Neil, Leo, me, Dave, Pete, Roy and Andrew.|
|WTF? Andrew is bizarrely accosted by a juvenile Jackdaw at Lakenheath.|
|One of the showy adult Spotted Flycatchers at Weeting Heath NWT.|
Eventually, it was time to repair to the next site, one of apparently only two in the country to hold Military Orchid. My first orchid twitch, I confess I found it less challenging than any bird twitch, and I can report that all the Military Orchids were still on site when we left, in exactly the same places. Presumably they still are.
|The Doc botanising (NB this is not a Military Orchid).|
Two further locations in the afternoon included Weeting Heath NWT reserve, where two Eurasian Stone-curlews were for me outshone by a pair of Spotted Flycatchers repeatedly feeding three chicks in the nest, and another site where a number of Brecks specialities can be found. Some of them duly gave themselves up, but the birding ended unsatisfactorily with an impossibly distant raptor way off to the north – probably at least a mile away, maybe as far as 50 miles. It drifted in wide circles on ragged wings, most of the hand of the left wing being missing. Similarly, the central tail feathers were also absent, and these shape-altering, flight-affecting factors, combined with the great viewing range, conspired to create an unfathomable ID. The bird appeared un-buzzard-like in silhouette, having rather long wings with straight trailing edges that were held slightly bowed downwards. It was dark in plumage, bar for a pale area on the chest. Size-wise it wasn’t huge, but ultimately it was lost to view after plunge-diving into the forest from some height. Who knows …
|Motley crew, from left: Neil, Roy and Pete (aka Shiny).|
After that inconclusive finale in the field we closed proceedings with an excellent Indian meal nearby in Thetford – if you’re ever in the area, check out the Thetford Raj, and don’t be put off but its unpromising surroundings. I can personally vouch for the vegetable dansak and special fried rice, while others opted for a range of ex-creatures (mainly fish and sheep, if I recall correctly). The latter would not have suited fellow vegetarian Dave, who I last saw some months back at a similar meal, and whose presence was missed at this one, even if we felt he had somehow been present all day. RIP Dave - you are missed by many.
|To absent friends, and one in particular ...|
|Dave Slater, 1950-2012. RIP.|