Monday 15 April 2024

The Suffolk Coast - 14th April 2024

A adventure:

Somehow it was another lovely spring day – two on the bounce has been such a rare thing this year and we started well at Westleton Common once again with the Nightingales singing but not really giving themselves up like they did on Wednesday.

The Woodlarks were up on the wires again and there was more Chiffchaff and Blackcap song along with a brief Bullfinch and wheezy Yellowhammer.  The increase in leave cover in five days was noticeable.  A few Hoverflies were loafing around and it was good to find a single Eudasyphora cyanella too.

Eristalis pertinax

Eudasyphora cyanella

Onto Westleton Heath for a circuit in the warming air.  Dartford Warblers were once very showy and active with Linnets and Stonechats equally visible but the Woodlarks were only heard way up in the blueing sky.  I was pleased to find the Stone-curlews once again and we had a wonderful encounter with one of the Nightingales.  Blackcap and Lesser Whitethroat joined in in the heavily scented Gorse around us.  

Dartford Warbler

Lizards were out basking along with a few Hovers but there were strangely still no Butterflies on the wing.  Enid identified some interesting plants with Lesser Chickweed - Stellaria pallida, Climbing Corydalis - Ceratocapnos claviculata and Heath Groundsel - Senecio sylvaticus and there were some patches of very pale flowers amongst the pink Storksbill.

Climbing Corydalis - Ceratocapnos claviculata

pale form Storksbill

Lesser Chickweed - Stellaria pallida - the flowers have no petals

I found more Eye-lash Cups - they look a little different to the North Cove ones

Common Lizard 

Eristalinus sepulchralis

Minsmere took up the rest of the day and was glorious. Bitterns boomed wherever we went and we were lucky enough to see one moving between reed patches from Island Mere where Sand Martins now flicked left and right and Bearded Tits were seen with bills full of insects.

The woods here were full of Orange Tips and the first Damselflies too which I was surprised to see were Variable – thanks to Roy for confirming my suspicions.  There were Bee-flies and Nomad Bees and the constant sound of Med Gulls passing overhead.


Green-veined White

Orange Tip

Variable Damselfly

Variable Damselfly

Gall of the fly Lipara lucens

Ruby Tiger cat?

Eristalinus aeneus

Nine-spine Stickleback

Rudd - Bittern food

A comfort stop at the centre allowed a good catch up with Steve Grimwade and the EBS group before a casual glance up produced a Common Crane on a controlled fast descent glide as it dropped in high from the north – undoubtedly heading back to the Levels.


Ex- Marsh Orchid spikes?

Common Crane - high and hazy

Mossy Stonecrop - Crassula tillaea

Two Whitethroats were singing at the start of the North Wall and Sedge Warblers were on top of the brambles.  Bitterns boomed and Sand Martins fizzed overhead.  It was delightful to be out.  Down at the sea a fine male Wheatear, that I suspect was a Greenland bound bird hopped around without a care in the world.  Seeing my first one of the year is always a joy. 


On the scrapes the single Knot of Wednesday had been joined by ten others and we also found Little Ringed Plover and Turnstone amongst the breeding waders.  Twelve Sandwich Terns were roosting on an island and a single Kittiwake dropped in for a wash and brush up.  And even here the Bitterns on the other side could be heard.  They were a constant backdrop to the whole day.


A male Adder was briefly where I saw him on Wednesday but he did not linger long and slithered away and Stonechats balanced on the highest stems.


We came back via South Hide and the Bitterns were so close that you could hear the intake of breath before the booms.  I remarked that we needed extra Bitterns and promptly found three playing chase way out over the reedbed!  A fourth bird got up to join them and they spent five minutes circling before all dropping back down into the still brown reeds. Never seen anything quite like it!


A new spring in our weary steps brought us back to the car park and the end of a great day out.

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