Minsmere, lies lies lies!

Colchester our coach to Minsmere
Colchester our coach to Minsmere

It was up early for us second day running, the Aylesbury RSPB group were running a coach trip to Misnsmere RSPB. Helen only spotted the trip on the local groups website on thursday, but there were still spaces, so we were on, and A of A&C was up for it too. C was going to football.

The coach departed at 07:45, and we were soon on the M25. The day looked like it was going to be great weather wise the sun was shining and it was already warm and it was still early. The weather forecast suggested sun all day with some cloud possible late afternoon. What could be better a sunny day by the seaside, and Sole Bay to boot.

We had a comfort break just outside of Colchester, at a BP Connect with an M&S food shop. The journey was very pleasant it made a change to be able to gaze out of the window and enjoy the view, rather than having to keep my eyes on the road.

The end to end trip was almost exactly 3 hours, and a peasant journey it had been. We grabbed out what’s about sheets and map of the reserve, from the friendly volunteer, and headed off into the woodland trail in the direction of Dunwich Heath, in the hope of a Dartford Warbler.

We were not disappointed we headed towards two big lens, the couple were taking pictures of Stonechats feeding a younster, a a couple of Linnets. After a few fleeting glimpses two Dartford Warblers came a long really close and perched on the vegetation giving us cracking views. It was time for a celebratory coffee stock at the Dunwich Coastguard cottages.

An interesting bench design
An interesting bench design

I had elderflower presse, and a huge slab of bread pudding, lovely, the girls had cheese scones. Suitable replete we headed down to East Hide. The wind was much colder down on the beach, we quickly headed to the shelter of the hide.

There were not many waders about, Ringed Plover and a Sandpiper. Plenty of gulls and Common Terns, ducks Gadwall, Shelduck, and Shoveler. I noticed my BB battery was almost flat, I blame Google Latitude, constant trying to get a fix and communicate back to base. I have turned all the wireless off to try to finish this blog entry.t

We headed back to the newly adjusted visitor center for some lunch, beans on toast, parsnip bake and mushroom and leek soup was had amongst us. Then suitably refreshed we headed out towards island mere, where on the way a gathering were watching a newly fledged set of 5 treecreepers were being fed by attentive parents. From island mere we watched Bearded Tits flitting about above the reeds.

It was getting late so we headed back stopping off at Bittern Hide, in the hope of seeing obviously a Bittern. A few times a Bittern was called out and on a couple of occasions, we managed fleeting views.

The view from Bittern Hide
The view from Bittern Hide

With only half an hour to spare we strolled back to the visitors center, for a look round the shop, on the way we say 3 hairy green dragon flies. Back at the centre I took another panorama set of the building, if it turns out OK I will see if the RSPB want a copy. All in all a great day out and what value for money, thanks must go to the Aylesbury RSPB group for organising and the William Harding trust for the generous grant that keeps the price down.

On the way back we had the traditional team bird count sweep stake, all the birds the people on the coach counted are tallied up and the person who guessed the number correctly get half the money and the rest goes to the groups coffers.

We were back at Bedgrove just after 20:00 after a pretty smooth and comfortable journey. We got home and I had time to pack for a Monday trip to Belfast (watch this space you know what is coming) and then off to bed for another early start.

You should not believe everything you read in this blog, and never blog things in anticipation you will get caught out. It turns out there was a 1 hour delay on the A12 due to a horse box accident. We sent the time identifying wild flowers on the roadside. We hit the M25 at 20:00 the time we thought we might be back in Aylesbury.

We got to Bedgrove at 20:55 and were home by 21:00 I have time to have a shower and pack, catch up with emails and RSS feeds then it was time for bed and an early start. We certainly made the most of the weekend.

There are also a couple a panoramas you can see here.