On Saturday 16th May the group visited Minsmere RSPB reserve on the coast of Suffolk. We travelled by coach and Sally’s arrangements worked a treat – she even managed to find a toilet stop (sorry, comfort break) at Tesco outside Ipswich. On arrival we were greeted by RSPB staff and given the daily news sheet. This gave us a target range of birds and other wildlife to find that included 11 booming male bitterns. And boom they did! Most of the group also saw bitterns as the birds moved from one part of the reed bed to another. SpringWatch will be broadcasting from Minsmere again this year – and no doubt we will see more of the bitterns then. Although our visit this year was slightly earlier than last year there were still a few fledglings around (I refuse to call them babies!) and the first avocet chicks had just hatched. A great spotted woodpecker was a very regular visitor to its nesting hole as were great tits using boxes. A new innovation this year (for me anyway) was the adder trail. This proved to be very popular with the group. Some of the group had better views of the snakes that I did – the only one that I could find was coiled up inside a fallen tree protector tube.
One short day is not long enough to do justice to the reserve and its wildlife. Between us we saw almost 80 species of bird, 2 species of deer and some of us were lucky enough to see a porpoise swimming along just off the beach. And, of course, an adder! Difficult to think of an outstanding highlight. Lovely place, good weather – perhaps the little terns.
Thanks to Sally for arranging and managing the trip. Also thanks to Steve and Terry for the photographs.
Next coach trip – Welney in the autumn. See our programme for details.