2011 – part one

RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk. February

Marg at The Dairy
Marg at The Dairy

Loved RSPB Minsmere (except for lack of mobile phone signal/wi-fi, but minor point). The Dairy at Scotts Hall Farm was really lovely inside – huge kitchen, comfy living area and roomy bedroom. So nice, we spent every evening cosied up watching TV! For sunny evenings there was a patio with table/chairs and a garden but we didn’t get chance to sit outside. Great location for walking to the cafe and to the Island Mere and Bittern hides, which we did of course. Excellent RSPB cafe – we were there for coffee most days at some point, had a couple of meals there and sampled the apricot slices on more than one occasion!

Plenty to see even in February… and, yes, we did see a bittern. We had almost given up hope, then on the Thursday we were out on a Winter Wander with a guide and a bittern flew over our heads! Cameras not at the ready so no photographic evidence but firmly etched in our minds. The Marsh Harriers did not disappoint – they were wonderful. Also saw snow buntings on the beach and a great white egret which had a huge yellow bill (beak?)

Marsh Harrier at Minsmere
Marsh Harrier at Minsmere

Loved the walk to Dunwich and had lunch in The Ship. Also did part of the walk to Southwold from Walberswick- as far as the foot-bridge along the river Blythe, then back via the village street. We set off after a lunch in The Bell. Then another day we visited Southwold. Went along the lovely pier, had a tour of the Adnam’s brewery (very good) and walked along past the beach huts as far as the lifeboat station. Not enough daylight hours to walk too far.

The only wet afternoon was spent in Aldeburgh. The wind was sooooo chilly that day that we have very few photos of the town… didn’t stand still for too long. Had good pizza to warm up.

Would definitely go back, maybe for a weekend or two or even another week. The journey up was unexpectedly dire. Something happened which closed the M25 at the Dartford tunnel. We hoped it would be possible to approach from a different road but that was closed too so we spent an hour or so at Bluewater (!!!!) then tried again. Still closed so off we went with everyone else to the Blackwall tunnel. Interesting journey. Past the Olympic park. Eventually arrived at Minsmere a 4.30pm, having left Ashford at 10.30am! At least we arrived in daylight, but exploring the immediate area was not possible as it was very dark very soon. Not used to pitch black!

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