A few slight coach hiccups and rain didn’t deter our avid members on this Autumn visit to the fantastic reserve on the Suffolk coast. We were also joined by a few people from the Medway group, who are always welcome. Ian, a visitor experience officer from the RSPB, greeted us on the coach to inform us of the recent sightings and the latest news. After checking in at reception, the group went their separate ways around this fascinating place. One of our first avian encounters was seeing blue tits using the sand martin nest holes as their own! Excellent to see that these lovely little birds are very resourceful. Just before the wooden bridge, Sally found a birds-nest fungi, the first of many found on our walk. There are five phyla of fungi: Chytridiomycota, Zygomycota, Glomeromycota, Ascomycota, and Basidiomycota, of which, Sally’s find falls into the latter. The North hide gave us avocet, pheasant, wigeon, turnstone, teal, snipe, little grebe plus many more. We walk passed the ringing station where a Cettis
warbler sang to us on our way.Recent sightings of ring ouzels at the north bushes didn’t add to our list, – however, nine red deer and a multitude of meadow pipits helped. On the north wall, Maria heard the ‘ping’ of bearded tits, unfortunately for all of us, none were showing. Herring, black-headed and lesser black-backed gulls flew overhead as we made our way to the sea wall. A pair of stonechats were spotted before we reached the east hide for respite from the rain. Lunch was taken and very welcome it was too. On the east scrape , there were avocet, mallard, black-tailed godwit, cormorant, various gulls, little grebe, pied wagtail, curlew, dunlin, moorhen, great crested grebe, shoveler and gadwall.
The south scrape gave more gulls, shoveler and black-tailed godwits, whilst a kestrel quartered overhead. On route to the south hide, a hobby was spotted and a song thrush sang it’s welcoming song to us.
The bittern hide unfortunately didn’t live up to its name, but did give us nice views of marsh harriers. Some of our group ventured out into the rain to the island mere hide where a splendid otter was spotted. By now, it was getting dark and late, so our group decided to retreat to the welcoming cafe for a deserved cuppa and reflections of the wonderful day . The reserve never fails to deliver whatever time of year that you visit – the group managed to spot a total of 76 bird species!(coincidentally, the same amount that we saw in the spring) The staff are always friendly and give valuable advice on sightings, whether a beginner or seasoned birder. This reserve is a must for all.
Many thanks to all that attended and made the day special. Thanks to Hazel for organising it all.
Thank you to Joshua, Sally, Steve and Terry for the photos.
Steve and Hazel.