Image

16th June 2017 – Dunwich Heath and RSPB Minsmere

A Dartford warbler within a minute of starting our walk on Dunwich Heath, and so close, but a slow photographer only managed to capture the get away. But at moments like that you have to take in the beautiful surroundings.

FP5A2399

FP5A2410

FP5A2440

FP5A2415

At Minsmere the highlights were an adder in a wren’s nest (the chicks, we are told, escaped) and swallows at the sluice.

MT1D4484Black-tailed godwits take time out from feeding

MT1D4543Disputes on the scrape

MT1D4566Pied wagtail

MT1D4571Swallow deciding which way to go

MT1D4587
“Bombing magpies is very tiring”

MT1D4631We are quite happy here, thank you”

MT1D4774Med gulls making the most of their holidays in the UK 

MT1D4784A common tern measures up the situation

MT1D4798
The symbol of the RSPB – an avocet

MT1D4820Barnacle Geese and goslings

MT1D4827A gadwall cooling down

MT1D4882Not me guv!”

Click below for gallery of photos from today.

Image

15th June 2017 – RSPB Minsmere

Another truly amazing day @RSPB Minsmere.

So many failed photos but enough successes to keep me happy. Some of the best were bearded tits, ringed plovers, redshanks, avocets, mediterranean gulls, black-headed gulls, black-tailed godwits, oystercatchers, lapwings, common terns, gadwall, marsh harriers, bitterns, cormorants, reed buntings.

We enjoyed the company of Steve and  Helen from Bristol too. Seven hours birding and still in the pub for a lunch time drink.

MT1D4204

MT1D3645

MT1D3720

MT1D3797

MT1D3770

MT1D3825

MT1D3954

MT1D3845

MT1D3997

MT1D3856-2

MT1D4047

MT1D4110

MT1D4159

MT1D4203

MT1D4256

MT1D4259

MT1D4313

MT1D4337

MT1D4349

Click  below for gallery of photos from today

Image

13th June 2017 – Hen Reedbeds, Suffolk

We meant to pop in to Hen Reedbeds Wildlife Reserve just north of Walberswick which is where we are staying in Suffolk, for a quick visit but ended up spending most of the day there. Hen Reedbeds, a fairly new wildlife reserve, is a mix of wetland habitats, including reedbeds, fens, dykes and pools (see Wikipedia article) in the Blyth Valley.

As soon as we arrived we spotted a marsh harrier across the reed beds, then the first lapwing of our visit. Although the weather at the beginning of the day was most promising, by the time of our visit it was very grey and not ideal for photography. However, it was a pleasant walk (although quite chilly) and lots of wildlife to see as we made our way around various well-maintained and well-appointed viewing platforms and hides.

The highlights were gadwall, especially a female with its chicks, oystercatchers, shelduck,  a grey heron and several little egrets, a hobby, a buzzard, several marsh harriers, a lapwing, lots of small birds (reed warblers, sedge warblers and reed buntings) and even more bees and butterflies.

With the varied wild flowers, insects and birds the Hen Reedbeds offered the best of Britain’s countryside.

There were even some flyover aircraft for entertainment.

MT1D3359

FP5A1952

FP5A1976

MT1D3317

MT1D3370

MT1D3350

FP5A2316

FP5A2357

Click on the photos below for a gallery of photographs from today

Image

12th June 2017 – RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk

Another amazing day at RSPB Minsmere. A slow start, but boy did it soon get exciting.

On the scrape there was a festival of gulls with great black-backed, lesser black-backed, herring, black-headed, Mediterranean, Caspian, yellow-legged and kittiwakes (thanks are due to local RSPB volunteer for help with ID and this article from Bird Guides.) We also saw black-tailed godwits, redshank, Canada geese, oystercatchers, avocets,  shelduck, common terns as well as ringed plovers on the beach.

MT1D3027

MT1D3035

MT1D3081

MT1D3121

MT1D3048

MT1D3094

MT1D3149

MT1D3151

MT1D3286

Before reaching the Bittern hide we also saw grey heron, greylag geese, great crested grebe, mute swans, little egret, coots, moorhens, sand martins, swallows, a reed bunting and great spotted woodpecker with young.

MT1D3173

MT1D3249

MT1D3298

MT1D3293

However, the main spectacle of the day was a display of marsh harriers and hobbies right in front of us at the Bittern hide.

FP5A1729

FP5A1709

FP5A1554

FP5A1473

FP5A1754

FP5A1773

FP5A1681

FP5A1670

FP5A1491

FP5A1769

FP5A1547

Before the day was over we even saw Cetti’s warblers (but I was not quick enough to grab a photo).

Click below for a gallery of a selection of my photos from today.

Image

11th June 2017 – RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk

So lovely to be back at RSPB Minsmere in Suffolk on the east coast of England even though we only had time for a brief evening walk out along the North Wall to the East hide.

We were very sad to see that the sand martins had abandoned their cliff nests near to the entrance but we were not too disappointed as apparently they had moved to the nearby Dunwich Cliffs and we still saw hundreds of them them dashing across the reed beds enjoying their late evening feed.

MT1D2959The abandoned sand martin nests

MT1D2751Sand martin

We saw two types of tern (I hazard a guess at common tern and sandwich tern),

MT1D2720

MT1D2946

thousands of  black-headed gulls, and other gulls including a mediterranean gull. There were lots of waders on the scrape (and an incredible din); however, it was quite difficult to see clearly how many there were as we were facing straight in to the sun but we could certainly make out avocets (one of our favourite birds).

MT1D2908

MT1D2902

On the way back we could hear bearded tits and Cetti’s warblers and saw male and female pheasants. Not a raptor in sight though, but it was a good start to our week.

Click below for gallery of photos.