27th June 2019 – Stoke Park Estate, Bristol

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I thought it might be a good chance to photograph some butterflies in Stoke Park Estate this morning and I wasn’t expecting to see too many birds; and then there were 40+ swifts and a kestrel at Duchess Pond and I didn’t have the right lens!

I did manage a few  acceptable swift photos but the kestrel was beyond me. There were lots of meadow brown butterflies and one marbled white but all my other attempts at photos were rubbish.


A26I2288Marbled white

A26I2312Meadow brown




21st June 2019 – RSPB Minsmere

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Another pleasant walk around Minsmere this morning to end our stay in Suffolk,  although the wind was still a bit fresh.

DSC07061The decommissioned nuclear power station at Sizewell which dominates the marshes.

DSC07067The National Trust café and cottages on Dunwich Heath at the northern end of the reserve

DSC07183It was interesting watching the terns from here returning from fishing trips in the North Sea

DSC07154Common tern

The only new bird today was a linnet in the dunes but I also managed to get some shots of the little terns with chicks (although at some distance).

DSC07220One of a pair of linnets in the dunes




DSC07099Black-tailed godwits in front of the scrape

DSC07270Little egret eating a frog



Little terns and chicksDSC07316Little tern

DSC07240Common tern






20th June 2019 – Around Walberswick, Suffolk

Last year we had seen stonechats, dartford warblers and stone curlews on Westleton Heath but on our walk this morning we only saw crows and jackdaws. I only took two photos: one of the heather and the other of grasses!.



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A little later we went on to the RSPB nature reserve at Minsmere and just went to one hide where we saw male and female marsh harriers, a grey heron,  a fleeting sight of a bittern in flight (so fleeting I didn’t even get it in my viewfinder), a distant hobbyblack-headed gulls, kittiwakes, and common terns.


DSCF5881Male marsh harrier


DSCF5780Female marsh harrier

DSCF5762Grey heron


DSCF5749Common tern

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Back to our cottage for lunch and a short siesta and then in the late afternoon we called in at a  a nearby bird hide looking over marshes toward the River Blythe in Walberswick (where we saw mute swans, greylag geese, a couple of lapwings, lots of wood pigeons and heard a skylark) as we walked down to the estuary of the River Blythe and along the beach a little at Walberswick before calling in to The Bell Inn for some supper.

DSC06854View from the hide (where ducklings were hiding).



DSC06881Greylag geese


DSC06954Ferry across the River Blythe to Southwold

DSC06955The River Blythe


DSC06964Little egret

DSC06978The beach at Walberswick

DSC06963The cultural centre of Walberswick

DSC06938The green in the centre of Walberswick

DSC06986Herring gull

DSC07022Crab supper



DSC06941Our supper at The Bell Inn



19th June 2019 – RSPB Minsmere


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A wet and gloomy day, so not one for sunbathing on the beach. Luckily at RSPB Minsmere we were able to have a decent walk, shelter every now and again in a hide and see some lovely birds (and flowers).

The stars were stonechats, dunnocks and a whitethroat in the dunes; black-tailed godwits, mediterranean gulls, common and sandwich terns, spotted redshanks on the scrapes; and a reed buntings in the reeds. We even heard a cuckoo.




DSCF4864Stonechat and dunnock

DSCF4947Female stonechat

DSCF4950Male stonechat

DSCF4975Female stonechat

DSCF5093Common redshank


DSCF5210Common tern

DSCF5290Mediterranean gulls

DSCF5294Barnacle goose

DSCF5255Canada geese

DSCF5324Black-tailed godwit

DSCF5417Black-tailed godwit

DSCF5438Spotted redshank

DSCF5453Black-tailed godwit

DSCF5498Black-tailed godwit

DSCF5506Spotted redshank

DSCF5520Common tern

DSCF5600Reed bunting

DSCF5614Reed bunting

DSCF5628Viper’s bugloss






18th June 2019 – Walberswick National Nature Reserve

We enjoyed the company of friends from Norwich during the day but went for a walk in the early evening along the coast at Walberswick and back through Corporation Marshes.

Light rain was forecast but we thought the risk was worth taking.  It gradually got darker and darker and with ten minutes to go there was thunder and lightening; but we managed to reach the haven of our holiday accommodation before it tipped down.

Throughout the walk the light was poor and I have included photos only as a record; but it was amazing what we saw in the penumbra.

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When we reached the sea (North Sea) there was a pair of common eider which I had only ever seen before in the north of Scotland.

A little further on we saw an oystercatcher and then in the marshes a skylark, shelduck, an avocet, a cormorant, a pied wagtail, a grey heron, 3 little egret, four mute swans, a liitle grebe and some reed buntings and even heard the pinging of bearded tits. I also heard a kestrel calling and discovered it was right overhead, but by then the light was too poor for photographs. We didn’t see another person on our walk (probably all too sensible) but lots of wildlife. There are never many people here but always lots to see.

DSC06632Seaside pea

DSC06626A pair of common eider

DSC06636Gull with crab supper

DSC06668Shelduck and avocet


DSC06715Little egret

DSC06728Pied wagtail on the river


DSC06773Grey heron

DSC06799Reed bunting

DSC06809Reed bunting





17th June 2019 – RSPB Strumpshaw Fen


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Today we went to RSPB Strumpshaw Fen in Norfolk (about an hour up the coast from Walberswick). We were hoping to see (and photograph!) a Swallowtail butterfly for which the reserve is famous. Last year on a visit here I had seen one as soon as I got out of the car in the car park but never saw one again. Well this year we did the same trail (but in reverse) and struck lucky seeing one at close quarters.

We saw other butterflies and dragonflies and damselflies too. I shall have to get my charts out later to try and identify them but supper at the pub is now beckoning. (Now added but waiting, and hoping, to be corrected!)

DSCF3965Male swallowtail butterfly

DSCF4005Male swallowtail butterfly

DSCF4044Male swallowtail butterfly

DSCF3862Painted lady butterfly

DSCF3845Male brimstone butterfly

DSCF3883Painted lady butterfly

DSCF3902Male  banded demoiselle damselfly

DSCF3910Male black-tailed skimmer damselfly

DSCF3959Female four-spotted chaser damselfly

DSCF4125Male speckled wood butterfly

DSCF4218Male black-tailed skimmer damselfly


DSCF4251Male four-spotted chaser damselfly

DSCF4259Male red-eyed damselfly

DSCF4289Male large red damselfly

DSCF4294Male common blue damselfly

DSCF4298Male red-eyed damselfly



DSCF4234Marsh orchid

DSCF4237Ragged robin

DSCF4164Great crested grebe and offspring

DSCF3832Female blackbird


16th June 2019 – RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk

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We have had some very mixed weather at RSPB Minsmere today but once again this fantastic nature reserve has not disappointed.

The day started sunny and warm (enough to encourage us to venture out in shorts) but our visit to the reserve ended mid afternoon with a torrential downpour; luckily we were sheltered in a hide but we decided to quit and run (not literally though) and head back to our excellent holiday home in Walberswick (

Highlights were marsh harriers, spotted and common redshank, black-tailed godwits, mediterranean gulls (but no photos), sand martins, kittiwakes, common and sandwich terns (sadly no photo), stonechats (in the dunes) and, as always, avocets.

DSC06558Godwits and avocet in the downpour



DSC06518Female marsh harrier

DSC06471Male marsh harrier

DSC06573Barnacle goose

DSC06599Greylag geese and goslings

DSC06587Spotted redshank

DSC06164Common redshank

DSC06439Little egret

DSC06344Black-tailed godwits


DSC06024Sand martin

DSC06224Common tern


DSC06135Post-coital embrace for these avocets


DSC06403Deadly (nightshade) little egret


DSC06468Marsh orchid

DSC06299Tiger moth

DSC06037All sorts of wild things at Minsmere








15th June 2019 – Flatford Mill

We spent a couple of hours touring around “Constable Country” on the Essex/Suffolk border visiting Dedham, East Bergholt and Stoke by Nayland on our way to Walberswick in Suffolk. The most interesting, from my point of view, was the visit to Flatford Mill near East Bergholt where John Constable painted the Hay Wain, one of his most famous landscapes.

DSC05896Willy Lott’s house – the setting of John Constable’s The Hay Wain (2019)

DSC05930A print of the The Hay Wain by  John Constable (1821)


DSC05895Flatford Mill

DSC05884.jpgValley Farm

There were a couple of opportunities for nature photos here as there was a robin at the National trust café and a female broad-bodied chaser and some blue damselflies in a lovely little wildflower garden run by the RSPB.


DSC05967Female broad-bodied chaser








14th June 2019 – Maldon, Essex

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Our hosts at the B&B at which we are staying in Maldon, Essex suggested two really good activities for today: firstly, a walk along the tow paths of the Chelmer and Blackwater Canal to Heybridge Basin; secondly, a visit to the gardens at Beeleigh Abbey.

DSC05487Interesting graffiti under one of the bridges of the Chelmer and Blackwater Canal linking sea with the land

There were a few opportunities for nature photographs especially as we made a diversion on the route to Heybridge Basin and followed the sea wall of the Blackwater River where we saw common terns, oystercatchers and little egrets, as well as thousands of black-headed gulls. We even heard a cuckoo singing.

On the canal as well as coots and moorhens we saw more common terns and a kestrel. There were dragonflies two.

DSC05510The Chelmer and Blackwater Canal

DSC05495Holly blue butterfly along the canal

DSC05508Female four-spotted chaser on a metal railing alongside the canal

DSC05534Great views from the sea wall back to our B&B 32 The Hythe with St Mary’s Church behind

DSC05606Common tern


DSC05655Little egret

DSC05680The sea wall leading in to Heybridge Basin




DSC05771Fortunately the weather has improved for some lucky couple

Beeleigh Abbey was a monastery constructed in 1180 for the White Canons, otherwise known as the Norbertines or Premonstratensians. It was purchased by William Foyle, the owner of Foyles Bookshop, in 1943 and Christopher and Catherine Foyle, the current owners, open the gardens on certain days in the summer.

The rose garden was particularly beautiful especially as there were some small tortoiseshell butterflies. The garden also has a riverside walk where we again saw the ubiquitous little egrets.

DSC05774Beeleigh Abbey

DSC05789Small tortoiseshell butterfly




DSC05870The riverside walk

DSC05865Little egret

DSC05873A beer at The Queens Head Inn on the quayside back in Maldon was very welcome





13th June 2019 – Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve, Essex

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We are spending a few days in Essex en route to a week’s holiday in Suffolk Today we visited two nature reserves run by Essex Wildlife Trust.

DSC04650Old barges on the Blackwater Estuary at Maldon where we are staying at the excellent B&B 32 The Hythe right on the harbour

The first was the vast expanse of Abberton Reservoir. We didn’t spend very long here as it was very exposed and very windy but we did have very good views of birds we have not seen this year – swifts and common terns. There were plenty of other birds but they were quite distant and the light wasn’t great for photography.

DSC04770Common tern at Abberton Reservoir

DSC04938Tufted ducks at Abberton Reservoir

DSC04945Egyptian geese at Abberton Reservoir

DSC04948Greylag  geese at Abberton Reservoir

DSC04957Pochard at Abberton Reservoir

DSC04981Cormorant at Abberton Reservoir

DSC05000Great crested grebe at Abberton Reservoir


The second reserve was Fingringhoe Wick which was more intimate and much more rewarding. As the light wasn’t good throughout the day the standout moment was not visual but aural – a nightingale singing in a bush right at the beginning of our walk.  It is the first time we have heard a nightingale in the UK.

There were lots of hides but the best was one which looked out on to the Colne Estuary, where we saw oystercatchers, black-headed gulls, shelduck, common tern and lots of little egrets.

DSC05077The excellent Margaret hide looking out on to the Colne Estuary


DSC05184Oystercatcher at Fingringhoe Wick


DSC05246Common tern at Fingringhoe Wick

DSC05293Black-headed gull and delicacy at Fingringhoe Wick


DSC05351Little egret

On a small pool at the Kingfisher hide we saw a little grebe and a redshank.


DSC05443Little grebe

DSC05468Shelduck orchestrating a mute swan

We didn’t see swifts here but there were swallows and house martins.

It’s not been the best of weather but we had a great day out.