Jun 062018

Our large group descended upon this fantastic reserve on an overcast day that was supposed to be having thunder and lightning. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, and we set out to see some of the species that Minsmere has to offer.

The sand martins were busy gathering food to take back to their nests as we walked towards the North Hide. On the way, a blackcap was seen and heard, followed by chiffchaff and chaffinch. From the hide, lapwings and oystercatchers with their young broods were spotted on the islands. Barnacle and canada geese mixed in the long grass as common terns flew overhead. Mediterranean gulls, black tailed godwit, shelduck, little egrets, shoveler, gadwall, avocet, mute swans and mallards were among other birds seen. The North Wall provided good views and sounds of goldfinch, reed bunting, reed warbler, marsh harrier and hobby.


Suddenly, a bittern rose from the reed beds and flew straight past us before turning towards the sea wall. What a spectacular sight for us of this magnificent bird – so graceful in flight.

Common scoter, whitethroat, sandwich tern and black-headed gulls were seen from the sea wall. Then, to our delight, a male cuckoo was heard close by and then spotted on a short flight from one treetop to another, accompanied by its mate.

Some of our group decided to walk up to Dunwich Heath and were rewarded with sightings of an arctic tern and a Dartford warbler!


After lunch, the East Hide and viewing platform provided us with excellent sightings of kittiwake, sandwich and common terns, knot, little gull and greylag geese.

A ringed plover flew overhead as we made our way towards the sluice and after scanning the shore line some of the group spotted a bird on the edge of the water.  After much debate it was identified as a sanderling in summer plumage.  Turnstones were also spotted looking for food as more terns flew by. Sedge warblers gave us their jazzy songs, a linnet and a stonechat were seen perched on a gorse bush. Swallows continually dived around us disappearing into the sluice. On towards the woodland and Malcolm found a very hairy caterpillar, much to the delight of a young family and their small children.

The Bittern Hide gave us further views of the bittern, walking and flying, whilst marsh harriers quartered above, looking for their prey. The woodland section yielded wren, blue tit, great tit, jackdaw, rook and robin, whilst the Island Mere hide gave us great crested and little grebe and a heron.

An assortment of butterflies included holly blue, common blue, cinnabar, small heath, painted lady and brimstone. A four-spotted chaser, black-tailed skimmer and various other dragonflies were also seen. A thick thighed flower beetle was found on cats-ear.

Unfortunately, no sightings of the stone curlew to report, however, we all enjoyed our day out, especially with over 70 species noted.


Many thanks to everyone on the trip, Hazel for organising and Steve and Sally for the photos.


 Posted by on 6 June 2018 at 11:05 pm

  10 Responses to “Minsmere Coach Trip”

Comments (10)
  1. A brilliant day out, enjoyed by all. A great write up Steve. The Dartford warbler pair were a delight and the “arctic” could be a “comic” tern as I’m still waiting for confirmation from a couple of more expert folk.

    Its great to read what everyone has seen and those things I missed too!

    • Thanks Sue and glad that you enjoyed the day. You only missed the flying Bittern on the North Wall 🙂

  2. We thoroughly enjoyed the day, couldn’t have been better, Bitterns booming, Cuckoo calling and Warblers warbling. Well organised with weather that just got better as the day progressed. A great day out, thanks Hazel.

    Nick & Sue

    • Good to see you on the day and really glad that you both had a great time. The Bitterns are always special, the Cuckoos were a bonus, especially seeing them flying and so many Warblers attracting our attention with their lovely songs. The weather was a bonus too.:-) Hazel says thank you and hope to see you both at the Wetland Centre.

  3. Yes a lovely day, lots of wildlife and good weather to boot. Many thanks Hazel, a friendly & well organised outing. Even our visit to the Tesco toilets went smoothly. And well done Steve with the photos and trip report. You can both come again.

    • Thanks Sally and glad that you and Malcolm enjoyed the day. Seventy six species of birds, plus the sightings of butterflies etc, made this a special day out. Minsmere is always a great place to go and to see so many people from our group having a really good time, makes it all worth while.
      The Ipswich branch at Tesco also said thank you to all that visited 🙂

  4. I agree it was a great day out to Tesco’s, oops I mean Minsmere. It was so good that Terry and I took ourselves back again last weekend for the weekend. It was just as good second time round, well nearly, we did miss stopping at Tesco’s. Managed to visit the heath this time round as well and caught up with dartford warbler and nightjar. Magic. My thanks also to Hazel and Steve. Keep up the good work.

  5. It was a fantastic day. Even though I missed the bittern, I was lucky enough to see the Dartford warblers. Also thanks to Paul I can now tell the difference between the Canada, Brent and barnacle goose.

    • Nice to hear that you had a fantastic day and that you got to see the Dartford warblers. Paul is a clever man and knows his geese, amongst others – now you can share your new found knowledge with others that you might bring along on one of our trips 🙂

  6. Glad that you both had another good time at Minsmere and of course seeing the Dartford warbler and nightjar – what a bonus! I’ll have a word with Terry about the Tescos stop – it’s just not on 🙂