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Suffolk Birding (2 Viewers)

matt green

Norfolkman gone walkabout
Considering the birding potential of the east coast there doesn't seem to be a regular suffolk thread?.. so I'll start one now!

3 April, Dunwich heath, general area - blythburgh estuary

The day started a little later than anticipated (mostly my fault for sleeping in!) but we soon made our way to dunwich village, our first plan was to follow the coastal path towards dingle marshes but the bad weather soon put an end to this as neither of us fancied walking across the bleak and exposed shingle beach in the rain, a little egret, snipe and three redshanks were all we saw poddling around the small pond/scrape by the car park.

After waiting for the bad weather to pass we decided to follow the public footpath through a small wood south of the village.As we made our way past the ruins of the franciscan priory we spent a few moments scanning the paddocks for any possible migrants, I was anticipating black redstart on the old cattle shed or ring ouzal hopping around looking for worms but nothing was seen - wishfull thinking failed to produce the goods yet again!

Walking further into the wood the occasional clearing opened through the bushes and a clear view out to see was possible, setting up the scope we saw only one red throated diver.As we were nearing the edge of the woods
my friend informs me that this particular spot is good for firecrest and possible shrikes but due to the wind and rain nothing of note is seen here.
Making our way out of the small woodland we follow the road until joining another footpath through an area known as broom hill which gives a fantastic view over dunwich forest, despite the shortly cropped grass meadows offering great potential for wheatears and other scrub migrants only common scrub birds are seen.Making our way back to the carpark in the village we stop for dinner and then drive out a short distance and park by the footpath
that leads to dunwich heath, I was particularly hopefull to see dartford warbler on the heath but I'm told the weather is against us and these birds will most likely be hunkered down among the gorse and heather, and thats exactly where they stayed because none were seen!, I did however get to see my first woodlarks, after being directed to their song we saw two individuals together.The first thing that struck me was the shorter tail compared the skylarks, also the wings are somewhat shorter and wider
(lifer No1)!

Following the paths across the heath I notice some red deer tracks, their paths are easily seen through the bushes and the whole area has a healthy
population but unfortunately, and surprisingly no deer species are seen through out the day.As we approach the coastguards cottages I inform my friend of the new sea watch hide looking out over minsmere cliffs, this recent fascility has been equipped with charts showing visitors the various sea mammels that may be seen along with recent sightings of sea birds etc, the use of a scope (and a very nice one at that!) is offered for perhaps the more casual visitors who do not own one.As my friend is counting regular barnacle
geese flocks and the occasional red throated diver I take full advantage of the close views of a pair of stonechats perched on the bushes outside.
On leaving the hide we complete a circular walk back to the car, just as we approach the road I note a raptor flying over the woodland near mount pleasant farm, first I think male sparrow hawk, then kestrel and...err while I'm dithering my friend finally calls out hobby!, a mad dash to find a better vantage point away from the bushes and the bird flies over our heads offering a fantastic view, possibly one of the very first hobbies to hit the east coast?

Our last visit of the day is to nearby blythbough estuary, as soon as we find our way onto the path that follows the southern edge of the estuary it's clear that there is no shotage of birds to be seen here.The first sighting is a lone curlew with a dozen or so oyster catchers and redshanks, many more are seen as we walk to the rickerty bird-hide that looks out over the flats.
At this point I get two more lifers in the form of a single spotted redshanks and a yellow legged gull, all happily mingling with the more common esturine birds.After a short while we realized we had arrived just as the tide was going out so all the waders etc dispersed across the entire estuary to feed, a brief ray of sunshine made a group of black tailed godwits all the more visable
among more curlew and redshanks.Further scanning of the northern edge
finally produced some avocets and two pintail duck, unfortunately I wasn't
quite quick enough to the scope for the ducks so I missed these sightings!

And so endeth our day on the suffolk coast, three lifers and some great walking in fantastic countryside which can potentialy offer some awsome birdwatching..except when it's pithing down and windy!!

Maybe other suffolk birders (or visitors) could be encouraged to post their sightings/day reports on this thread.

Some pics



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matt green

Norfolkman gone walkabout
..and a couple more!



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Well-known member
That seawatch hide looks quite smart.

Who does it belong to, National Trust?

Is it located by the NT car park that overlooks Minsmere RSPB?



Andy Bright

Staff member
Thanks Matt, a busy Suffolk thread would be appreciated by many people, not just locals.
The seawatching hide is new to me as well.

Your second photo shows my regular holiday cottage... and over the years, i can report that that meadow hasn't offered much to my eyes, Merlin about the best. The path running by the cottages to the heath is a real Nightingale alley.



Well-known member
Sounds like a good day, Matt, despite the weather being against you. Now that those awful north winds have stopped, all of us should get some more migrants very soon. Congratulations on the hobby, woodlarks and spotted redshank!! Three good ones. :t:



Well-known member
United Kingdom
This thread is an excellent idea, Matt. As I live on the Nofolk/Suffolk border I could never understand why there seemed to be so much activity in the Norfolk section but nothing apparently happening in Suffolk.

I think you are right about the healthy Red Deer population. Driving home from Minsmere a couple of weeks ago we spotted six of them in the field by the road. We stopped the car and watched them cross the road and disappear into the next field. I find it quite a novelty to see them roaming about in this part of the country.



Well-known member
Good one with the thread Matt. i must say im IMPRESSED with the hide. Soft seats looks like you fell into some sort of parallel universe where life is the same yet better[beam us up].

matt green

Norfolkman gone walkabout
NoSpringChicken said:
This thread is an excellent idea, Matt. As I live on the Nofolk/Suffolk border I could never understand why there seemed to be so much activity in the Norfolk section but nothing apparently happening in Suffolk.Ron

Thanks Ron and Dafi

Completely agree about the lack of reports from this part of east anglia, the coastel areas especialy have great potential.The whole area of dunwich heath/forest, minsmere, blythbough estuary and the sorrounding countryside is just one vast plain of bird watching heaven!

Come on suffolk birders!!!

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matt green

Norfolkman gone walkabout
Connor Rand said:
For your location Matt it says Norfolk, but not the best bit. Isnt all of Norfolk good?! ;)

Haha, well!

It's not 'that' bad, much of the norfolk interior is victim to intensive agriculture, I think it's fair to say the best birding parts of norfolk is the far west around the brecks and fens, the north and east coast and the broads.I'm pretty much lumped right in the middle of an agri-desert!

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Well-known member
Just thought it might be useful to include a local website on this page regarding Lowestoft birding, a bit further north than Minsmere / Dunwich etc. A number of good birders put in a lot of work on local patches in the area, and periodically find some cracking birds... read all about it at



Local rarity
dbradnum said:
Just thought it might be useful to include a local website on this page regarding Lowestoft birding, a bit further north than Minsmere / Dunwich etc. A number of good birders put in a lot of work on local patches in the area, and periodically find some cracking birds... read all about it at


As a sometime Lounge Lizard myself I can only support these comments. There is another useful site at: http://www.freewebs.com/suffolkbirding/



Well-known member
Nice to see Lowestoft getting a mention as this is my newly discovered local patch! After many years of being a back-garden birdwatcher I am now venturing out into the big world beyond.....

Karl J

Well-known member
excellent choice of thread Matt, i'm quite close to the border and think Suffolk esp. the coast is fantastic.

Had a wander with the good lady today around Dunwich heath, lunch at the Eels foot before returning via the sluice and beach, past Minsmere reserve - Not many migrants in evidence yet but still managed a couple of year firsts, namely 1 Sand Martin and an Adder. Plus a number of displaying harriers and loads of singing Cetti's.

As a general thought i have to say a summers early morning (before anyone else gets there) ride around the little lanes through the forests and heaths, when the Nightingales arrive and start singing away is one of the highlights of the yearfor me. Cant wait !

No sight of Dartfords today - are they still around ?
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Original PaulE

Well-known member
good idea for a thread i will keep it going went to landguard today highlights were a wheatear and a blackcap, loads of linnets and meadow pipits
this afternoon stopped of at thorington street which i think is just in suffolk and had three buzzards soaring high in the sky

Karl J

Well-known member
A lovely few hours in the quiet country lanes of north suffolk today, ending up at Benacre

Got my first (2) singing Blackcap of the year down the lane past Covehithe church, plenty of Chiffchaff about generally.

Along the cliffs - c.27 Sand Martins investigating burrows & a few Meadow Pipits chasing about

fair mix of common stuff elsewhere, on the broad etc. - 12 Avocet, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Teal, shelducks. and a fine pair of displaying Marsh Harriers over the reeds. Some interesting looking piles of wood / dead trees on the beach (storm debris?) but too many Bank Holiday beachgoers for anything still to be amongst it by the time i got there.

worthy of note too, down the road at Wrentham crossroads - Stephanies Cafe


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Active member
Dunwich / Minsmere

Hi all,

As another person who lives on the border of norfolk / suffolk, I am very pleased to see a Suffolk thread started - looking forward to reading the posts on this one!

Early start this morning and took a drive down to Dunwich Heath. Plenty of Stonechats perched on top of the gorse singing away, followed by views of three Dartford Warblers - two brief views of them flitting down into the heather scrub and one nice long view of one in flight singing (flew right over me) and then dived into cover. Not much else about so popped into Minsmere.

Loads of Marsh Harriers, Bearded Tits (pinging like mad) and one Spotted Redshank. Heard plenty of Cetti's and a booming Bittern but didn't manage to get views of either. Reserve started to get real busy by lunchtime so I left with the intention of popping into Sotterley Wood on the way back - drove round Sotterley for ages but couldn't see how to get into the wood. Any ideas anyone?? Saw a kestrel picking at a road kill pheasant in the middle of the road. Also saw either a stoat or weasel and a grass snake.

Went home with slightly sun burned face but a good day nonetheless.

good to see the view from the hide a Benacre and read your account of your visits round the Dunwich area.I was fortunate to see the Dartford Warbler during the Foot & Mouth scare on the very day they reopened the Heath. I was also fortunate to see a Marsh Harrier being mugged from the small reserve on the way to Southwold. Hope to be back in Suffolk during the Summer.Archibald D

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