Trip reports

Suffolk May 16

Suffolk May 16
Ian Brooks

Sunday, 19 June 2016

A very wet day marked the start of the York Group's midweek trip to Suffolk. Not to be deterred, 20 of our members found their way to Cavenham Heath in time for a packed lunch.
Our first quest was to find stone curlew on the heath but before commencing our walk a singing nightingale attracted our attention. Undeterred by the continuing rain we walked on with all eyes scanning the heath for our elusive prey. Eventually one was found sitting on the ground, or eggs, so all we could see was its head, but there was no mistaking those big bold eyes.
Having found our target and in view of the weather we decided to cut short our walk and head to our next destination. Leaving the heath, we headed towards Westleton and on to Dunwich Heath to look for Dartford warbler. Our luck continued and a bird was soon seen again at some distance from our path. We were pleased to see stonechat as well and thankfully now the rain had ceased. We then carried on and checked into the Westleton Crown Hotel, our base for the trip, and enjoyed our first evening meal.
After breakfast, we left the hotel to spend the day at RSPB's Minsmere reserve. We met our old friends and long-time members of our Group, Lyn and Eric Meades in the car park. They had travelled from their home, now in Lowestoft, to spend a couple of days with us. No one was disappointed with the birding at Minsmere - one of the "Jewels in the Crown" of the RSPB.
Bearded tit, little tern, little stint, hobby and a mega bittern experience (above), were some of the highlights seen. Despite there being no reports of nightjar in the area some of the group decided to take an evening stroll after dinner to the area they are usually seen. However, a distant call of a tawny owl was all we managed during the walk.
We checked out of our hotel, having enjoyed our stay, to travel to RSPB's Lakenheath reserve (photo). Here we met another two long standing members who had travelled from London to spend the day with us. The last day of our trip was to be spent on this reserve.
Hobbies (right) were very much in evidence again and a pair of common cranes was added to our list along with black terns. Unfortunately, the possible garganey did not appear within our view at all. This reserve used to host nesting golden oriole, probably the last place in England to do so, but they have not been seen for a couple of years. Over a well-earned cup of tea, we checked our total tally of birds for the trip. This was 105 species seen plus 3 heard only and so the sweep completion fund was shared by Anne Lloyd on 109 and Val with 107 as their forecasts. Ken Searstone