What a day! Another horrendously early start, out the door before 6am. What drove us to do that... well I do know. There was a big days birding planned.
The first stop of the morning was at Cavenham Heath. It was a bit slow to begin with, but after an hour or so things picked up with a pair of Woodlark in one of the fields. They really do have remarkable camouflage and the dull early morning light made spotting them no easier, a nice species to get the morning started though. What really got the day started however were three Stone Curlews, like the Woodlark sitting cryptically camouflaged and at some distance. Through the scope though they looked fantastic, a truly remarkable looking species.
Time pressed, so it was then on to Lynford Arboretum to look for the Two-Barred Crossbills, and hopefully not the strange, presumed hybrid bird I had here last year. The car park here was surprisingly good, with a pair of Firecrest and a Marsh Tit.
There were a few Crossbills around to start with, and over the next hour we saw up to about eight birds, but despite the best efforts of several birders no wing bars could be found on any of them. The hours ticked by and still no barred Crossbills... After nearly three hours it was time to go. We stopped at a puddle the Crossbills drink from on the way back, then things began to get interesting. There was a Crossbill... with wingbars. The excitement built, but as soon as I saw it I realised that this was almost certainly the dubious hybrid... for the second time! It could be a 1st year bird with poorly developed feathers, but impossible to tell. After all the time put in this was ever so slightly dispiriting.
It's a good thing we waited longer as five minutes later the female Two bar turned up, shortly followed by the male. Wow. Amazing birds, worth every hour. How happy it made me to see such large wing bars...
Still buzzing about the Two bars we then headed to Lakenheath Fen, where we saw remarkably little. Well we did see a Crane.... so I certainly won't complain, despite there only being brief flight views. Another amazing bird to top off an amazing day.