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Recent sightings

  • 2 May 2016

    Squeak...Squeak ...Plop!

    I didn’t have to venture far from the Visitor Centre today before I encountered some of Minsmere’s mammals and some great invertebrates too! I set off on my afternoon stroll to see whether I could see any stone-curlews from the North Wall viewpoint and also to see some bearded tits as there had been many reports today that they have been showing really well from North Wall and near to South Hide. My walk was halted at the pond because there was a small gathering on the bridge looking at this stunning great silver diving beetle clinging to a reed.

    We were busy staring at this impressive beetle when someone spotted a water vole swimming just below us. By the time I had got my camera up I only managed to catch the back end of it! Distracted by the water vole I wasn’t quick enough to snap a water shrew swimming just behind it.

    I then spent a long time searching for these stealthy little creatures, hence the title of my blog! Our guides heard them squeaking amongst the reeds; a very high pitched squeak. We would then hear a plop and see a flash of the water shrew before it was gone again. We then heard them squeaking from the other side of the pond and we rushed over to that side to try and catch a glimpse. After playing chase over the pond bridge for a while I did finally manage to spot a water shrew but I wanted to get a really good look at it as I had never seen one before so I didn’t put my camera up and didn’t manage to get a picture. I was delighted that I managed to see the water shrew, their short fur coat looks so velvety soft and their tummy is a greyish white that shimmered in today's sunshine, but despite this soft appearance I definitely wouldn’t want to get too close to one as I was told by one of our guides that they are actually venomous which allows them to eat large prey such as frogs. I now have the upmost respect for this tiny, stealthy, rapid and venomous creature!

    As well as having the treat of seeing these magnificent mammals I also spotted this damselfly and alder fly resting and was party to a bit of a set two between a moorhen and two magpies.

    A moorhen was quietly sitting on three eggs with the sun on her back and the commotion of us hunting down the water shrews going on around her, meanwhile her mate was dutifully fending off two magpies. Whenever they would get too close he was getting quite shirty with them and chased them out of the pond flapping at them wildly. When he thought they were at a respectable distance away from the nest he went to relieve his lady friend from her duty of sitting on the eggs whilst she went and had a swim and a feed. All this in only the space of an hour and in a very small part of the reserve!

    Posted by Amy L

  • 29 April 2016

    A good tern and another

    I was eagerly optimistic as I left my desk at lunch time and walked down to Bittern Hide. I had recently heard over the radio that there had been many sightings of bitterns in flight today and I thought that today may be the day that I saw a bittern for the first time. As I strolled down the hill with the sun on my face I could hear a male bittern booming and I thought that definitely was a sign that I would be in luck today.

    I think I was overly confident because on Monday lunchtime I had just a few minutes to spare and desperately wanted to see the wheatear that had been sighted that morning. My desire to see the wheatear was because for the month of April I have been looking at this glorious species on my RSPB calendar. I walked to the stone-curlew viewpoint along North Wall and within minutes my dash out of the office in the drizzle had been worth it because I was able to see the two stone curlews across the field which is always a very special sight of a species which is close to my heart. It wasn’t long afterwards that my attention was taken away and a male wheatear showed itself on a ridge in the field in front of the viewpoint. He was a beautiful bird and proudly kept appearing on this ridge to show himself to the small crowd at the viewpoint, standing still as if posing for the camera. I took a few photographs but admired him mainly through my binoculars.

    As I walked to Bittern Hide today I stopped to talk to a couple of visitors and they made me feel much better about not having seen a bittern yet by telling me that Michaela Strachen had not seen a bittern before coming to Minsmere for Springwatch. Bittern Hide had the sun warming it and the reedbed was glowing. It was a lovely place to spend my lunch but the elusive bittern was not as forthcoming as the wheatear had been on Monday and I am still to see a bittern! I did enjoy lovely views of a marsh harrier stirring up the birdlife and floating over the reedbed as well as a little egret poised motionless in front of the hide.

    I may not have been lucky today in the short space of time I spent looking for a bittern but our guides and visitor certainly were and the birdlife reported today was phenomenal. It has been a great day for terns as 80+ sandwich terns, 25+ common terns and a little tern were sighted on the scrape and a black tern was seen offshore flying south at 1.10 pm. There were at least three garganey on the reserve with a male seen from the public viewpoint and a pair were also seen on the Konik fields this morning. The common redstart has been a great talking point amongst the staff, volunteers and visitors this week and has been giving many people a great show at the bottom of Whin Hill. There were many sightings of the male today and we are hoping that they will choose an area on the reserve to nest this year. The common redstart is another species on my not yet sighted list so I am certainly hopeful that they stick around for a bit!

    Sandwich terns by Jon Evans

    Other highlights from today were three whitethroat were seen at in the Sluice bushes as well as from the car park and from North Wall and a lesser whitethroat at the Sluice Bushes and North Bushes. A kittiwake was also seen on the Scrape collecting nesting material. Island Mere proved popular for warblers with both reed warbler and sedge warbler being spotted from there.

    Whitethroat by Jon Evans

    Sedge warbler by Ben Hall (

    One of the highlights of my day was seeing the beaming face of a gentleman who had seen a fulmar flying past offshore from Minsmere Reserve. We had a confirmed sighting yesterday from one of our guides. As I am writing this I am wondering whether he is still smiling, I’m pretty sure he is and I’m certain everyone reading this will be able to relate to his feelings and recall one of their all-time greatest sightings. I am hoping to experience this shortly when I catch my first ever sighting of a bittern. Watch this space!

    Posted by Amy L

  • 25 April 2016

    Wildlife Explorers Reunite

    When I woke up on Saturday morning to a bitter north wind I thought to myself, well at least the sun is shining! That thought didn’t last long as on the drive into work the skies opened and it poured with rain! I always pay attention to the weather but I was particularly interested on Saturday because it was the first meeting of the new Wildlife Explorers group and my first meeting as their group leader. I had optimistically planned to do a walk and introduction to the reserve and I had asked one of our expert guides Davene to show the group some adders. Saturday’s weather definitely wasn’t very inviting for the adders!

    Excitement rippled through the air as the group met up and friends were reunited and new friends made. We divided the group of thirteen into two one group heading out in search of adders one the other on a Where’s Wiley challenge with myself. Wiley is a birding friend of the famous character Where’s Wally. I had previously hidden Wiley and seven of his friends around the reserve, high and low and some in quite challenges places to spot. I set out with the Wildlife Explorers group on a walk around the reserve in search of Wiley, Chris Peckham, Michaela Bracken, Owlfie, Pete Pricklepants, Nutty, Malcolm and Bluey. Once the Wildlife Explorers had spotted a character they had to mark on a map of the reserve where they had found them with the aim of enhancing their map reading skills and knowledge of the reserve.  As well as looking out for Wiley and friends we were also on the lookout for some of the wonderful wildlife around the reserve.

    We started off in the wildzone practising the use of our binoculars before heading down to the pond through the woodland. At the pond we observed the sand martins in their large numbers speeding through the air over the pond and the many garden birds in the nearby bushes. We then walked through the woodland observing a treecreeper on the way and towards the Wildlife Lookout with Cetti’s warblers singing in the reedbed. I made a comment about how I had never seen a Cetti’s warbler as they are easy to hear but difficult to spot. It was at this point that the Cetti’s warbler flew up and along the reedbed a little. A first for both myself and the group.

    Treecreeper by Jon Evans (

    Each year the Minsmere Wildlife Explorers group makes a list of all of the bird species they see and try to beat it year on year. We had only covered a very small part of Minsmere reserve but were off to a good start already! From Wildlife Lookout we observed many black headed gulls, mallards, gadwalls, shelducks, moorhens, greylag geese, Canada geese and avocets very close to the hide.  We then headed back to the Discovery Centre to meet up with the adder group and swap over to the next activity.

    Avocet by David Tipling (

    The other group had also had a lovely walk and enjoyed searching for adders and learning a lot about them, but due to the weather the adders were not obliging in showing themselves. Bentley (one of Minsmere’s male adders) had been considerate enough to slough (shed) his skin a few days previously for Davene to show her group.

    I really enjoyed taking the Wildlife Explorers around the reserve and was thrilled by the infectious enthusiasm and interest in nature within the group. Despite it being a rather chilly Saturday they were all really positive and keen to go wildlife exploring. One of my favourite moments was after ducking and diving from rain showers most of the morning we finally got caught out and it started to hail. One of the group then said “It’s better than rain, it just bounces off!”

    If you are between the ages of seven and twelve or know someone who is that would like to get involved with the Wildlife Explorers group or to find out more information about the group please email

    Posted by Amy L

  • 23 April 2016

    What a great hobby we have

    Working at Minsmere has to be one of the best jobs ever - even if I do spend much of the day in front of a computer rather out enjoying the wildlife. Afterall, as highlighted in the latest (Summer 2016) issue of Nature's Home magazine, Minsmere is the Number One RSPB nature reserve when it comes to biodiversity - the variety of life found here. No fewer than 5798 have been identified here. We are also top of the charts for the number of bird species on 326, land mammals (28) and fungi (1436), as well having more than 1000 species of moth on the reserve list. 

    Obviously, some of these species have only been recorded here once or twice (eg last summer's black-browed albatross or the scarce tortoiseshell from the previous summer), while others are easily seen every day - such as the blue tits, chaffinches or rabbits around the visitor centre.

    One advantage of working at Minsmere is that you can easily relieve the stresses of the office by heading out at lunchtime to spot some wildlife. On one such walk this week I was able to spot my first swift of the year over Island Mere on Thursday, followed by a lovely bee-fly nectaring in a patch of ground ivy on Whin Hill and some tiny cornsalad in flower. This more than made up for failing to spot the adder that I had actually gone out to look for.

    Whilst in Island Mere Hide on Thursday I caught a glimpse of what might have been a hobby disappearing behind the poplars at Eastbridge. It was, therefore, no surprise to hear that at least two hobbies were seen over Island Mere today, circling with the sand martins, swallows and house martins in pursuit of insects. In fact, one lucky person even managed to photograph two hobbies together.

    Hobby by Oscar Dewhurst (taken two years ago during BBC Springwatch)

    Other newly arrived migrants seen this week include more ring ouzels, wheatears, a couple of redstarts, yellow wagtails and reed warblers. Highlights on the Scrape have included bar-tailed godwits, whimbrels, a lovely summer plumage spotted redshank, common and Sandwich terns and Mediterranean gulls, alongside the avocets, black-tailed godwits, redshanks and black-headed gulls. A jack snipe has been seen at North Hide again today too.

    Other highlights have included regular sightings of peregrines, adders, otters, stoats, bearded tits, marsh harriers and linnets, as well as a few orange tip butterflies.

    Orange tip by Sue Tranter (

    What will the next week bring in?

    Posted by Ian Barthorpe

  • 18 April 2016

    One cuckoo may not make a summer, but one swift certainly does!

    Yes folks, it's official. It may be quite cold outside, with a chill breeze and only intermittent sunshine, but summer is here. One of our guides reported the first swift over the Scrape this afternoon. With several swallows and house martins over Island Mere this morning, and well over 100 sand martins around the nesting bank, there's plenty of aerial insect-eaters here despite the cooler weather.

    A swift by Mark Thomas (

    There's also a good selection of insect eaters elsewhere on the reserve as more and more summer migrants return for the breeding season. A nice flock of five yellow and one white wagtail were on West Scrape this morning, before relocating to the Konik Field. Wheatears were seen from North Wall and in the dunes today, and there was ring ouzel along the entrance road last week. Cuckoos are now being heard daily, and a couple of nightingales are singing on Westleton Heath.

    Warblers too, have arrived en masse. Several reed warblers are now singing within the reedbed, alongside good numbers of sedge warblers, while the first whitethroats, lesser whitethroats and garden warblers have joined the blackcaps, willow warblers and chiffchaffs in the woods. The star warbler, though, is proving very elusive. A Savi's warbler has been singing in the reedbed south of Island Mere since Tuesday, but it is very distant and only sings very early in the day or after about 6.30 pm in the evening. There has also been a grasshopper warbler singing nearby.

    Reed warbler by Jon Evans

    Spring wader migration is also well underway, with an increasing variety of wading birds visiting the Scrape. Among those seen over the day or so are common and green sandpipers, whimbrels, ruffs, bar- and black-tailed godwits, dunlins, knots, ringed, grey and little ringed plovers, turnstones and greenshanks. With avocets, lapwings, redshanks and oystercatchers all displaying, and the stone-curlews often visible from the North wall, it's possible to see 15-20 species of wader on any visit. A few common and Sandwich terns and several Mediterranean gulls are also present alongside the commoner gull species.

    A drake garganey was on the Konik Field yesterday, while several wigeons, teals, shovelers, gadwalls and shelducks can also be seen around the Scrape. 

    It looks like the Iceland gull and jack snipe may now have moved on, but at least one winter visitor remains in the shape of brambling around the visitor centre yesterday. 

    There are least seven male bitterns booming, with regular sightings at Island Mere and Bittern Hide. Bearded tits are also regularly seen in the reedbed, and marsh harriers are very active. A highlight at the weekend was a crane that flew west on Saturday.

    The weather may not be conducive to insect watching, and hasn't always been easy for watching our adders, but our mammals have been putting on a better show recently. Harbour porpoises have been seen offshore on Saturday and again today. Up to three otters remain regular at Island Mere. There have also been several recent sightings of weasels and stoats around the reserve.

    Stoat by Steve Everett

    Posted by Ian Barthorpe

  • 15 April 2016

    Exciting explorations

    On Wednesday, I joined many of the wardens from the Suffolk Area Team, as well as other members of the Minsmere visitor experience, catering and admin teams, exploring our reserves farther south along the Suffolk coast. This was a chance to learn about the exciting work being done on these reserves, as well as sharing ideas with other members of the team.

    During the day we visited three of our lesser known nature reserves on the Suffolk Coast. Under bright blue skies, with the warm sunshine on our backs, all three looked superb - and they were teeming with great wildlife. 

    Our first stop was RSPB Snape Wetlands, a reserve that I last visited about 18 months ago. What a transformation! The original reserve, at Abbey Farm, has developed into a lovely reedbed, while the newer part of the reserve, known as Botany Marshes, is nicely flooded with reed already beginning to establish. In a few years time, this too will be a reedbed, which we hope will be home to breeding bitterns, marsh harriers, bearded tits, otters and much more. Indeed, marsh harriers and bearded tits already nest at the Abbey Farm site, and we watched bearded tits busy collecting nesting material at Botany Marshes. 

    A panoramic view of Botany Marshes, RSPB Snape Wetlands

    As we walked across the reserve, a Chinese water deer dashed away across an adjacent field, two buzzards and a marsh harrier circled overhead, then not one but two peregrines zoomed overhead. One of these returned later to stoop, unsuccessfully, after a pigeon, before soaring up high with another buzzard. With sparrowhawk and kestrel also seen, this was a great site for watching birds of prey.

    It was a great site for wetland birds. About 40 pairs of coots are nesting, with several already having chicks. There are also nesting little and great crested grebes, greylag and Canada geese, mallards and gadwalls, and we also saw several other species of ducks remaining from the winter. Large flocks of gulls were loafing at the far end of the reserve, and lapwings displayed along the edges of the wetland.

    A view across Botany Marshes, RSPB Snape Wetlands

    Of course, our visit wasn't simply for birdwatching. David Fairhurst, Warden, and Aaron Howe, Senior Sites Manager, explained how Snape Wetlands had been bought by the Environment Agency as future compensatory habitat for expected losses of coastal reedbeds to sea level rise, with the RSPB given responsibility for creating a large new freshwater reedbed. We learnt about some of the difficulties encountered, changes to proposed plans to avoid damaging paleo-archaeological sites, and future plans for this site. 

    Aaron Howe explaining how the automated depth guage works

    There is currently no public access to Snape Wetlands themselves, though the west end of Botany Marshes can be viewed from the minor road near Langham Bridge. However, we do plan to arrange some access at some point in the future.

    After lunch we headed south to RSPB Boyton and Hollesley Marshes; two coastal wetland reserves close to the mouth of the Alde-Ore estuary. Hollesley Marshes is a relatively new site, purchased form the prison service in 2003, which has undergone a massive facelift in the last two years. Boyton is more establised, but there are exciting plans - more of these later. There is ca parking at both reserves, the former provided by HMP Hollesley.

    Two years ago, Aaron and his team turned Hollesley Marshes from a damp coastal field into a large new wader scrape, enclosed by a predator-proof fence, with immediate success. Avocets, lapwings and redshanks all bred very successfully in 2014 (the year that badgers decimated the Scrape at Minsmere), although there were few chicks that fledged last year.

    Looking across the scrape from the new viewing platform, we enjoyed good views of various ducks, gulls and wading birds, including a drake garganey, pair of pintails, two ruff and a group of four whimbrels that dropped in, as well as avocets, redshanks, lapwings, teals and shovelers.

    The viewing platform at Hollesley Marshes

    From the nearby seawall, offering views across the southern tip of Orford Ness, we saw both yellow and white wagtails. The former are scarce migrants here at Minsmere, but breed in small numbers in the Hollesley area.

    The Hollesley Scrape from the seawall

    Our final stop was Boyton Marshes, a reserve that I know well from previous visits. It's another coastal grazing marsh, with a small scrape close to the (very small) car park, and views across the estuary towards RSPB Havergate Island. Here we learnt of exciting plans for expanding the reserve and turning into a huge new wetland - though this will take a few years to create.

    Boyton is popular little reserve for those who know it, but it's not the easiest place to find. And with good reason. As we approached the scrape, David Fairhurst pointed out two gorgeous adult Mediterranean gulls among the avocets and black-headed gulls, while I spotted two lovely male ring ouzels feeding in the field beyond. This were stopping off on route from Africa to breeding grounds in Scandinavia or the British uplands.

    The two Mediterranean gulls at Boyton Marshes (with a black-headed gull, right, for company)

    We all came away excited about the current and future projects on this part of the Suffolk coast. I highly recommend a visit to Boyton and Hollesley Marshes, especially if you are looking for somewhere a little quieter than Minsmere this spring - and watch this space regarding future access at Snape.

    Meanwhile, while we were on our travels, news broke of a Savi's warbler singing at Minsmere, heard distantly from Island Mere hide in the early hours and around dusk. There's also a grasshopper warbler in the area, and as both have similar buzzing songs, separating the two can be difficult. Other new arrivals this week include reed warblers int he reedbed and the first nightingales on Westleton Heath. 

    Exciting times.

    Don't forget you can also keep up to date with news from Minsmere on Twitter @rspbminsmere, and read about news and sightings from all our Suffolk nature reserves on the RSPBSuffolk Facebook page, where more photos from the South Suffolk reserves will be posted later today.

    Finally, a cute pedigree Hereford calf from the herd that grazes Boyton Marshes

    Posted by Ian Barthorpe

  • 12 April 2016

    Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

    It's been a superb spring day at Minsmere, with migrants galore a few notable surprises. The wet start clearly grounded a few migrants, and it didn't seem to put visitors off either.

    Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was a cuckoo heard calling a couple of times beyond Island Mere late morning. This was a very early bird, with the bulk of cuckoos not expected to arrive for another two weeks or so. 

    Cuckoo by John Bridges (

    Island Mere proved a bit of a magnet for birds today, with both common tern and little gull hawking insects over the mere this morning, seven great crested grebes displaying, and then three common cranes flying over mid afternoon and landing in the reedbed. Add in the regular sightings of marsh harrier, bittern and bearded tit, plus singing sedge and Cetti's warblers, and it was certainly worth spending time in Island Mere Hide today.

    There was a bit of a gull-fest on the Scrape again too, with sightings including a juvenile Iceland gull, second-year Caspian gull, two  yellow-legged gulls, eight Mediterranean gulls and a kittiwake. There were also two Sandwich terns present. 

    Waders, too, put on a good showing on the Scrape. A highlight was a spotted redshank sporting an orange leg flag. This bird appears to have been ringed in France. Other waders included five ruffs, two bar-tailed godwits, 20+ black-tailed godwits (there were 191 present yesterday), knot, ringed and grey plovers, 100+ avocets, 20+ dunlins as well as redshanks, oystercatchers and lapwings. A jack snipe and at least one common snipe remain at North Hide, where a drake garganey was again seen. A green sandpiper was also seen yesterday. A pair of stone-curlews has also returned tot heri usual field, north of the North Wall, where they can often be seen from the viewpoint.

    As well as all these waders and gulls, there are still several of the common wintering ducks present on the Scrape, while both yellow and white wagtails were seen on East Scrape today. Overhead, sand martins are increasingly active around the nesting colony, while both swallows and house martins have been seen in small numbers.

    Not to be outdone, there is a notable increase in birdsong within the woods, including several chiffchaffs, blackcaps and willow warblers, as well various tits and finches. The first lesser whitethroat of the year was seen and heard in the sluice bushes today too. Other notable migrants over the last few days have included wheatear, ring ouzel, and black redstart on several dates and a common redstart near the South Belt Crossroads on Saturday.

    Chiffchaff by John Bridges (

    With spring very much in the air, there are regular sightings of adders on the adder trail, while insects to look out for included bee-flies feeding among the ground ivy, various bumblebees, and peacock butterflies, 

    Bee-fly by Sue Stephenson-Martin - look out for them around ground ivy flowers this month

    Posted by Ian Barthorpe

  • 11 April 2016

    A busy walk!

    I took advantage of the glorious sunshine today and took a lovely walk around the Scrape at lunchtime. This week I am going to be away from the reserve for a few days on a training course and I wanted to have a good look around before I go as the reserve can change so much in just a few days. It was with this in mind that I began my walk I started thinking about all the changes I had seen on the reserve since I arrived in late January.

    As I was busy thinking I noticed that the wildlife around me also seemed particularly busy today. They were obviously taking advantage of the glorious weather too and going about their business in the splendid sun. From the office I walked through the woodland and around the Scrape towards South Hide there were busy buff tailed bumble bees around flowering ground ivy and numerous birds singing in the woodland. I stopped to listen to a wren singing near the reedbed as I came out of the woods and I couldn’t help but admire the shear gusto with which it was singing. For such a little bird it really was singing it’s heart out! Some greylag geese flew over my head whilst I was standing watching two mute swans hastily searching below the surface for food and the noise coming from the Scrape behind me sounded like it was bursting with activity.

    As I approached The Sluice and walked up the beach I looked down the coastline at the stunning views from this part of the reserve. Even the sea seemed busy today with large waves rolling towards the beach crashing relentlessly against the shore. I spent some time in this area in the hope of seeing a black redstart which had previously been spotted around here last week. I did not see one but I was not disappointed because I was given a great show of herring gulls and sand martins flying over the dunes in the blustery winds and making the challenge of flying against the wind look effortless.  Amongst the flowering gorse a linnet and a dunnock were perched singing with passion and the first swallow I have seen this year flew over.

    Busy singing!

    When I got to East Hide I looked out over the Scrape and was amazed by the variety of birdlife to be seen. It really was a stark comparison to one of my first trips to East Hide back in January when I looked out and saw an empty looking scrape.

    The Scrape in late January.

    A very busy Scrape today (April)

    I was completely immersed in the hive of activity in front of me, many gulls, redshank, oystercatcher, dunlin, black-tailed godwits with their splendid orange breeding plumage and as a real treat avocets feeding right in front of the hide. The wildlife around the reserve seemed to bustle with activity today but inside the hides the birders were in no hurry at all and were taking their time to enjoy all to be seen around them, myself included. I have noticed such a change in the reserve over the last few months and am filled with excitement about all of the further changes I will no doubt experience throughout the year.

    A glistening Scrape.


    Posted by Amy L

  • 6 April 2016

    Where's Jack?

    I have always enjoyed searching games such as “Where’s Wally?”, word searches and spot the difference and today my walk around the reserve gave me both the challenge and satisfaction of these games. I started my afternoon walk in the hope of seeing a bird which many others have sighted recently but one which I haven’t seen before and one which had not been seen today. I headed to North Hide to look for the jack snipe.

    The skies were filling with threatening looking April showers so I hurried to the hide stopping only to enjoy the sand martins and to have a search for the goldcrest that had also been spotted by North Hide earlier. Once in the hide I eagerly began searching the reeds and water edges for the jack snipe. I had been warned that these birds are incredibly difficult to spot but I don’t think I really appreciated the enormity of that truth. After a while and no luck I left the hide to go and see if I could see another of my favourite birds; the stone curlew. I must like the challenge of spotting difficult birds because I scoured the area of the field behind the North Wall where I had seen two stone curlews last week (with the help of David one of our guides and his telescope!) for a while. This search proved more difficult than any “Where’s Wally?” I have ever attempted and turned more into a game of spot the difference between a rabbit and a stone curlew. From the pictures you may think that this is a fairly obvious game but at a fair distance and using only binoculars it was turning out to be very hard!

    Stone curlew by Jon Evans.

    Rabbit - google free images.

    It was at that point that my radio went off and reports of a jack snipe in front of North Hide were confirmed from our guide Steve. I hurried back to the hide and up the steps to where Steve had positioned his scope. “It’s just moved and now I’ve lost it!” said Steve. He explained that the jack snipe is astonishingly difficult to spot unless it is moving. It was not. Suddenly Steve spotted it in his scope again and showed me. It took a while for me to see even though I knew it was in view of the scope. The jack snipe gave me a big helping hand by beginning to bob up and down, which they do when feeding. After I had seen him through the scope I watched him for a while through my binoculars and he came out of the reeds to give me a great view, helping me all the time by bobbing up and down.

    Although I was given big clues in my afternoon searching game I did feel great satisfaction when I walked back to the office that I had managed to spot such a secretive and pretty bird. I feel I may become a little addicted to this game!

    Jack Snipe by Jon Evans.

    Posted by Amy L

Your sightings

Grid reference: TM4767 (+2km)

White Stork (1)
8 Apr 2016
Water Rail ()
3 May 2016
Cetti's Warbler ()
3 May 2016
Tree Pipit ()
3 May 2016
Avocet (30)
3 May 2016
Bar-tailed Godwit (2)
3 May 2016
Nightingale (1)
3 May 2016
Singing/breeding calls heard
Redstart ()
3 May 2016
Whimbrel (2)
1 May 2016
Turtle Dove (2)
1 May 2016

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Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 52.24746,1.61705
  • Postcode: IP17 3BY
  • Grid reference: TM473672
  • Nearest town: Saxmundham, Suffolk
  • County: Suffolk
  • Country: England

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