A great weekend away in Suffolk to celebrate good friends 30th wedding anniversary in the quirky resort of Thorpeness. While not a birding holiday, in between walks, pubs and eating I managed to visit RSPB North Warren a short walk from the cottage via the beach and "The House in the Clouds".
Small Copper on the heath.
Good numbers of Swifts and House Martins were seen together with commoner warblers such as Whitethroat, Blackcap, Reed and Chiffchaff. No sign of Marsh Harrier there but a hunting Sparrowhawk was a bonus. Again on the Heath, were a few Stonechats including a juvenile.
The following day saw a trip to Minsmere which is one of my favourite reserves. Walking through to the Bittern hide saw quite a few Dragonflies including this Common Darter.
Overlooking the reedbeds you get a great view of Sizewell!
A lone Hobby was hawking for Dragonflies but too distant for good shots and the five Marsh Harriers were also camera shy, but here is one of the females.
I spotted three Bitterns on short flights but just managed one shot as one of them landed in the reedbed.
The Scrape was next and waders were scarce with this distant Ruff.
And two Spotted Redshanks.
As to be expected, Black-tailed Godwits and Avocets were the commonest waders present.
Up onto the beach and the view towards Southwold and the beautiful Yellow-horned Poppies.
The highlight though was watching the Terns fishing very close to shore before taking their catch back to the Scrape. First up were the Sandwich Terns.
And then the Common Terns.
And finally, the Little Terns that are now nesting on the Scrape protected by their mini "air raid bunkers".
The trip up to Dunwich Heath was not that productive as the wind had got up and whilst I had views of the Dartford Warblers I did not manage to photograph them. It was then back to the main reserve and it's always good to check out the Sand Martin bank. Here are three young birds looking out for their next meal.
Even though the weather was turning I spent a short time at "Digger Alley" for the parasitic wasps. I didn't have the best lens for the job but manged some shots of the Beewolfs.
The Beewolfs catch Honey Bees and take them back to their hole. The female lays an egg in the bee and then the hole is sealed. When the young hatch it has a ready made meal! A similar species is the Green-eyed Flower Bee.
Minsmere never disappoints and a great way to end a fantastic weekend.