We'll be holidaying in Suffolk during the first week of August, only a mile or so away from Minsmere, close to Westleton. I very much like watching birds (and nature in general), and photography. We have never visited Suffolk before.
Does anybody have any suggestions regarding "must visit" places, either on the reserve itself or within the vicinity?
Here's a few suggestions for early August:
Other places to go birdwatching:
Other places to visit for a day out:
Best bet is to look at Visit Suffolk website for places to visit. Ideas local to Minsmere include Long Shop Museum, Leiston; Aldeburgh; Southwold. Beccles is a lovely market town only 30 mins from Minsmere.
Hope this helps and enjoy your visit.
Brilliant Ian, thanks for the detailed response.
A guided walk was on the agenda already, I know from experience how good these can be, plus the family day sounds good for my daughter.
I got excited for a moment re Havergate Island - we all love boat trips and went out only last weekend with RSPB Poole to see guillemot, kittiwake and puffin on the Purbeck coast - until I realised that the first Saturday in August is the 7th, and we leave on the 6th :( But by the sounds of things there are plenty of other places to enjoy.
I love to watch dragonflies but they're so darned difficult to photograph - I hope the pond at Minsmere has sufficient branches around it to encourage them to take a rest every now and then!
Thanks once again, Pete
No need to book for the family days so perhaps we'll see you on 5 Aug.
The dragonflies often rest on reeds or other leaves around the pond, or the boardwalk, and if it's breezy you may find them along the woodland rides. Photos are usually possible with patience.
There are boat trips that go around Havergate, run by a different company, on a boat called Regardless. These give you a chance to see some of the wildlife using the estuary - avocets, egrets, etc and if you are lucky you may spot a spoonbill. Orford is worth a visit to check on the availability of places on these boats and there is also the castle to visit there.
Had a wonderful time, thanks very much for the advice Ian. Though we didn't make it on 5th, we did book for the walk on Sunday 1st, found ourselves the only people booked on the walk, and had two guides all to ourselves!
Quite a quiet time but great to get out for a few hours. Thanks very much to Derek and to a volunteer whose name I'm afraid I forgot.
I took some photos, the birds I was able to identify but had some trouble with a couple of things (not least with my memory, since our guides did tell me what each of these were!). Can anyone help with these?
First, a very bedragled-looking butterfly (male meadow brown?)
Quote from Derek: This is the rarest thing you'll see today. I can remember him saying this but not what the plant is!
Okay, you got me, that last one was not on the Scrape but at Pleasurewood Hills up in Lowestoft! We went there at my daughter's behest *despite* our guides' advice!
Thanks once again for your helpful insights,
Glad you had a good visit. I'll pass your thanks on to Derek and Phil.
The butterfly looks like a ringlet to me. Although they usually have more spots on the upperwing, there is a frequent aberrant form with only one spot. Meadow brown should have some orange around the spot, even when worn.
The yellow flower is marsh sow-thistle. One of the easier yellow compositae (daisy-family) to identify as it's the only one to grow to more than six feet high in a reedbed. A nationally scarce plant, though quite frequent at Minsmere. I prefer the gorgeous marsh mallow myself though.
As for Pleasurewood Hills! I can't really comment as I've never been, but I'm sure Thomas will want to drag us along in a year or so, but I'm glad you were able to visit some of Suffolk's other attractions. There really is so much to do for families in Suffolk.
Thanks for that Ian. Yes we ended up having loads to do and a week was nowhere near long enough. One of my other hobbies is cycling and I went out on a couple of 25-mile rides winding down to Thorpeness and Aldeburgh, and over to Framlingham. Beautiful countryside along the way and quite active at the moment what with all the harvesting going on.
We saw a distant red deer on our Minsmere walk but were really rewarded one evening when returning back to our cottage we saw a group of about five red stags just hanging around in a wheatfield, by Dunwich forest. Enormous and all antlered-up - of course it'll be that time of year soon....
Its probably good that Thomas is still young, will give you time to save for a visit to Pleasurewood Hills. We went mainly because it was Alice's birthday during the stay, so it was her birthday treat. But so bloomin' expensive! Not a lot less than my rspb membership, and that lasts a whole year!
Oh, before I forget, if anybody is interested here's a link to a Flickr page where I published the best of my Minsmere photos, tho' to be honest none is particularly brilliant. A half-decent image of a Whitethroat in there. When I have time I'll maybe upload a couple to the rspb site.