Saturday, 24 May 2014

Suffolk Secrets....

There aren't really any secrets but the title is the name of the company we booked a little flat in Aldeburgh with, for our stay in the area from the 17th- 22nd May. An early morning walk after a five star Fish and Chip supper on Saturday night proved pretty productive. We walked towards Thorpeness and cut in onto the North Warren reserve. LITTLE EGRETS fed in the shallow lagoons and SEDGE, REED and CETTI'S WARBLERS all sung in the first few hundred yards, best of all was the BEARDED TITS whizzing across the reeds regularly and dropping into to what must have been their nest site. Along the disused railway line NIGHTINGALE, GARDEN WARBLER and BLACKCAP were all heard. The reedbed area was also very busy 4 HOBBY, 1 BITTERN seen flying flying low across reeds and a couple of MARSH HARRIER completed the scene. Later in the day a SANDERLING and a WHIMBREL were seen during a stroll along the beach.

Hobby just about to take an unfortunate dragonfly!!

Our next long walk was the Sailors Path heading from Snape Maltings back towards Aldeburgh, this wasn't quite as long as we had anticipated as an early morning 5 mile run had taken it's toll!!!!!  Despite the aching limbs we walked probably another 5 miles or so. A NIGHTINGALE was heard near Snape Warren where a WOODLARK was found with a beak full of food and a DARTFORD WARBLER called a couple of times otherwise it was fairly quiet but I did enjoy good views of GREEN HAIRSTREAK butterflies something I don't see often and a couple of CUCKOOS were calling on and off. An early evening visit to Hen Reed Beds near Southwold added a second BITTERN in as many days.
Green Hairstreak - Snape Warren

One of my favourite walks was the one we did Tuesday, we parked on Westleton Heath and walked on to Dunwich Heath followed by Minsmere to the Island Mere hide. There is always a lot to see from the large herd of RED DEER to DARTFORD WARBLERS and WOODLARK to AVOCETS, BITTERNS, HARRIERS and HOBBIES not forgetting a few SOUTHERN MARSH ORCHIDS. We missed Adder which I was hoping for and also missed the Purple Heron that appeared later in the day.
Dartford Warbler - Westleton Heath

Woodlark - Dunwich Heath

Sand Martins - nesting near the Minsmere Visitor Centre

The other thing I was really hoping to see was OTTER, so at around 5am Wednesday I walking to Island Mere Hide again and was going to stay there for approximately 3 hours with just Otter in mind. I arrived to find a couple in the hide who had seen Otter at 4.30am!!! this is a familiar story for me and Otters, by 7 am they left with no more sightings, although we had seen BITTERN in flight 7 times including 3 in the air at once and had been continuously serenaded by booming Bitterns, Bearded Tits and Water Rails. I stayed in the hide and at 7.25 a ripple on the left caught my eye then nothing..... until a couple of minutes later when my first OTTER came into view! brilliant!! not fantastic views but that didn't matter.
The last action of the break was another walk around North Warren where a HARRIS HAWK sat on the edge of the marsh and most excitingly a TURTLE DOVE flew through.
One of several Bitterns seen while waiting for Otters

Not exactly sure what this male Marsh Harrier had caught but a hearty meal, possibly a Little Grebe??


Mike H said...

Sounds like a great trip Alan. We have also used Suffolks secrets when we stayed at a house in Thorpeness. Great place must go back one day !

Greenie said...

Alan ,
Great post with some very good species seen . Ages since I've seen Dartford Warbler . 3 Bittern in the air together is just greedy ! Brilliant .
My only fleeting Otter sighting was from that same hide .

Warren Baker said...

Mouth watering stuff there Alan, great action images !

Went over to your sissinghurst patch on 16th may, and saw downy Emerald and Green hairstreak, what a treat they were ;-) ( see my post for that day)

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Hi Alan.. Nice serie of birds.. Good fieldwork.. Cheers!!!..

Helma said...

Wat een geweldig blog Alan.
je grasmus is fantastsich om te zien maar ook je mooie kleine groene vlinder. In Nederland komt deze vlinder alleen op het eiland Texel voor en ik hoop hem ook ooit te kunnen fotograferen. Ik heb genoten van je blog :-)