There were eight of us on this venture to Suffolk. We started out from Jane’s house in Portishead in misty weather and the day continued cool and overcast but our spirits were lifted with excellent views of three Stone Curlews from the hide at Weeting Heath. One male and female were clearly a pair. The heath was busy with rabbits, hundreds of corvids and a Mistle Thrush sat on a pile of sticks and serenaded us. We drove to Lakenheath where a Red-footed Falcon had joined with the Hobbies. He gave excellent views flying around and sat in a tree. The photographers were kept very busy! A lucky few briefly saw the male Golden Oriole in the Poplar grove. Unfortunately, he was too quick for me. Cuckoos called and we managed to see two. Bitterns were booming, 12 Reed Warblers were very noisy and further up the path a Crane flew out from a field of oil seed rape and across the reeds. Early next morning saw us out on Westleton Common. All the birds were singing well and we enjoyed Nightingale and Garden Warbler in the same Sallow with both showing well. Woodlarks were elusive but over three visits several of our group got good views; unfortunately Jane and I both missed out. Saturday was mainly spent at RSPB Minsmere where we visited all the hides and walked along the beach. Common Terns, Black-headed Gulls and Avocets were nesting on the scrapes. Turnstones flew over the sea. Bitterns boomed and Bearded Tits showed well and the usual warblers were singing. Next we went to Hen Fen where Hobbies were being mobbed by Black-headed Gulls and then we walked two miles along the River Blythe to see the reported Spoonbill. It was fishing in a shallow pool demonstrating its technique very clearly. Along the river we also saw Common Sandpiper, Oystercatcher and Redshank. In the evening we went to Westleton Heath for Nightjars but no luck, perhaps it was too cold. We did hear Stone Curlew and Tawny Owl and saw four Red Deer. Our last day took us to Dunwich Heath where we added Dartford Warbler, Stonechat, Whitethroat and another Hobby and there were lovely views of Minsmere reserve from above. The sun was finally out and it was warm. A return visit to Lakenheath was made but no luck with Golden Oriole. Thanks to Jane Cumming for all that driving and leading so well.
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