Coat on coat off, coat on coat off

Heather and trees
Heather and trees

After a very pleasant evening in the Eel’s Foot with a few pints and an enjoyable chat with a couple from Cambridge whom we happened to sit next to, we were again up early for the Eels Foot fry up.  Unfortunately no vegetarian sausages but lots of toast so very well fuelled as we checked out and headed off to Minsmere.  The choice for today’s amble had been subject to much discussion, but decided we could not do better than simply do a circular route centring on Minsmere safe in the knowledge that a coffee and excellent cake could be assured at the end of our walk.

We parked at the visitor centre and grabbed a “what’s about” to get a heads up of what we should be keeping an eye out for.  Not many people about yet and we headed off through the woods and soon came across a tit flock in an oak tree, which included two treecreepers, a greated spotted woodpecker, great & long tailed tits.  We stopped at Bittern hide, unfortunately not repeating Neils success on Saturday but saw good views of a little grebe and chick.  Continued to Island Mere where we saw a bar head goose, which is one of thos e “does what it says on the tin” birds, i.e. is a goose with striped bars on it’s head.  Usefully.

Coastguard cottages Dunwich

We pottered on in the sunshine, so coats off, crossing the road at Scotts Hall where a berry laden treee held tantilising views of, as ever, unidentified warblers.  The down the bridleway towards Dunwich Heath.  The mushrooms has started to appear and Neil got a few photos and the chance to try out his fish eye lens.  Another tit flock but could’nt spot the accompanying goldcrest that could be heard and more flipping mystery warblers!  Reached the Heath where is was getting a bit busier as the sun drew people out but we took to long way round and managed to secure the seat at the centre of the heath in another unsuccessful attempt to spot Dartford warbler.  It’s a bit worrying after we did not see any yesterday

and hope that is just us getting there at the wrong time rather than the after effects of a tough winter for them.  We did manage to see the stone chat so that and a cheese toastie at Lighthouse cottages was some compensation.

Refuelled we went down to the sea where, despite there being a chilly wind there were several swimmers.  We called in at East Hide to see the sanderling, black tailed godwit, avocets and wildfowl and walked on round the reserve.  We reached on point where several birders were starring intently at a bush at a ……..wheatear! A lovely looking bird but we anticipated a mega from the number of watchers.  Neil whispered he initially though it must be some special sort of wheatear.  Sun came out so Neil took his coat off, then of course it went back in again.  The BBC should use his coat wearing a some sort of weather prediction method.

Carrot cake, yummmm

Then lastly we popped into West Hide where it was surprisingly quiet after yesterday, until we spotted the sparrowhawk perched on one island which explained the rest of the birds shuffling quietly away on titpoe.  We saw a distant greenhank and another avocet.  The back to the visitor centre  for coffee and cake and some light shopping (me) before heading back Chiltern-wards at 3.00pm.