Where did August go?

Now I know people say that time goes faster as you get older but it also goes fast when you are having fun so that is my excuse. August really has raced by, maybe because during the school holidays we have had more family visits and when Alice, Matilda and Daniel are around time just races by as I love it and them so much!

It has been a quiet month for birds but still we have had a few good ticks, but insects have picked up quite a bit especially moths. Here are pictures of a few that dropped in!

August began with a day out with Ian, Alice and Matilda spent at Minsmere and to be honest  was one of the best days of the month. We got a life tick which is also a tick for the U K a Purple swamphen so that is hard to beat and after that the girls helped us seek out butterflies by the sea. Grayling butterfly was a new one for me and the sheer volume of Common blue ones was brilliant. Also a couple of rather different bees!

August has been hampered by my back but we still had trips out albeit less than usual. A trip the The green Britain centre was good although we failed to spot a Burnet that we had hoped for.

I missed out on Birdfair but on the plus side Ian returned with gifts!!! Even whilst being at home we had a visit from a Blackcap and several new moths, some new for the year whilst other were entirely new for us.

A day out in hot sunshine came later in the month when we got three bird ticks along with butterflies and moths. Now I honestly didn’t realise that butterflies (and moths) migrated until this year and I certainly didn’t expect to see them fly in off the sea but I did! A Clouded yellow butterfly flew in and had the decency to land and pause to be photographed, now that is my kind of butterfly! Also Wryneck, Arctic Skua and Red-backed shrike all on one day!

August ended with a weekend away enjoying English Country gardens as talked about in the previous blog, so I will just repeat a single picture.IMG_8689 Smooth newt

Now as this is a monthly round up it is list time beginning with birds:

List end August

  1. Mute Swan
  2. Bewick Swan
  3. Whooper Swan
  4. Pink-footed Goose
  5. White-fronted Goose
  6. Greylag Goose
  7. Canada Goose
  8. Barnacle Goose
  9. Brent Goose
  10. Egyptian Goose
  11. Common Shelduck
  12. Muscovy duck
  13. Mandarin Duck
  14. Eurasian Wigeon
  15. Gadwall
  16. Eurasian Teal
  17. Mallard
  18. Pintail
  19. Garganey
  20. Shoveler
  21. Red-crested Pochard
  22. Common Pochard
  23. Ferruginous Duck *
  24. Tufted duck
  25. Greater Scaup
  26. Common Eider
  27. Long-tailed Duck
  28. Common Scoter
  29. Velvet Scoter
  30. Goldeneye
  31. Smew
  32. Hooded merganser *
  33. Red-breasted Merganser
  34. Red Grouse
  35. Black Grouse
  36. Goosander
  37. Red-legged Partridge
  38. Grey Partridge
  39. Common Pheasant
  40. Golden Pheasant
  41. Little Grebe
  42. Great Crested Grebe
  43. Red-necked Grebe *
  44. Slavonian Grebe
  45. Black-necked Grebe
  46. Fulmar
  47. Manx Shearwater
  48. Gannet
  49. Cormorant
  50. Shag
  51. Bittern
  52. Little Egret
  53. Great Egret
  54. Grey Heron
  55. White Stork
  56. Glossy Ibis
  57. Spoonbill
  58. Red Kite
  59. White-tailed Eagle
  60. Marsh Harrier
  61. Hen Harrier
  62. Pallid Harrier *
  63. Goshawk *
  64. Eurasian Sparrowhawk
  65. Common Buzzard
  66. Rough-legged Buzzard
  67. Golden Eagle
  68. Osprey
  69. Kestrel
  70. Merlin
  71. Hobby
  72. Peregrine Falcon
  73. Water Rail
  74. Corn Crake
  75. Moorhen
  76. Western purple swamphen*
  77. Coot
  78. Common Crane
  79. Great bustard *
  80. Oystercatcher
  81. Black-winged Stilt
  82. Pied Avocet
  83. Stone-curlew
  84. Little ringed Plover
  85. Ringed Plover
  86. Dotterel
  87. European Golden Plover
  88. Grey Plover
  89. Lapwing
  90. Great Knot*
  91. Knot
  92. Sanderling
  93. Little Stint
  94. Temminck’s Stint
  95. Curlew Sandpiper
  96. Purple Sandpiper
  97. Dunlin
  98. Broad-billed Sandpiper *
  99. Ruff
  100. Jack Snipe
  101. Common Snipe
  102. Long-billed Dowitcher *
  103. Woodcock
  104. Black-tailed Godwit
  105. Bar-tailed Godwit
  106. Whimbrel
  107. Curlew
  108. Spotted Redshank
  109. Common Redshank
  110. Common Greenshank
  111. Lesser Yellowlegs
  112. Green Sandpiper
  113. Wood Sandpiper
  114. Common Sandpiper
  115. Ruddy Turnstone
  116. Grey Phalarope
  117. Arctic Skua
  118. Mediterranean Gull
  119. Little Gull
  120. Black-headed Gull
  121. Common Gull
  122. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  123. Herring Gull
  124. Iceland Gull
  125. Glaucous Gull *
  126. Great Black-backed Gull
  127. Kittiwake
  128. Caspian Tern *
  129. Sandwich Tern
  130. Common Tern
  131. Arctic Tern
  132. Common Guillemot
  133. Razorbill
  134. Black Guillemot
  135. Puffin
  136. Rock Pigeon
  137. Stock Pigeon
  138. Wood Pigeon
  139. Collared Dove
  140. Turtle Dove
  141. Rose-ringed Parakeet *
  142. Cuckoo
  143. Barn Owl
  144. Tawny Owl
  145. Short-eared Owl
  146. Common Swift
  147. Common Kingfisher
  148. European Bee-eater *
  149. Hoopoe
  150. Wryneck
  151. Green Woodpecker
  152. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  153. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
  154. Wood Lark
  155. Sky Lark
  156. Shore Lark (horned lark)
  157. Sand Martin
  158. Swallow
  159. Red-rumped Swallow *
  160. House Martin
  161. Tree Pipit
  162. Meadow Pipit
  163. Rock Pipit
  164. Water Pipit
  165. Yellow Wagtail (Grey-headed)
  166. Grey Wagtail
  167. Pied Wagtail
  168. Dipper
  169. Wren
  170. Dunnock
  171. Robin
  172. Common Nightingale *
  173. Bluethroat*
  174. Black Redstart
  175. Common Redstart
  176. Whinchat
  177. Stonechat
  178. Wheatear
  179. Ring Ouzel
  180. Blackbird
  181. Fieldfare
  182. Song Thrush
  183. Redwing
  184. Mistle Thrush
  185. Cetti’s Warbler
  186. Grasshopper Warbler
  187. Sedge Warbler
  188. Eurasian Reed Warbler
  189. Great Reed Warbler*
  190. Dartford Warbler
  191. Lesser Whitethroat
  192. Whitethroat
  193. Blackcap
  194. Wood Warbler
  195. Common Chiffchaff
  196. Willow Warbler
  197. Goldcrest
  198. Firecrest
  199. Spotted Flycatcher
  200. Red-breasted Flycatcher
  201. Pied Flycatcher
  202. Bearded Tit
  203. Long-tailed Tit
  204. Marsh Tit
  205. Willow Tit
  206. Crested Tit *
  207. Coal Tit
  208. Blue Tit
  209. Great Tit
  210. Nuthatch
  211. Treecreeper
  212. Penduline tit *
  213. Red-backed Shrike
  214. Great Grey Shrike
  215. Jay
  216. Magpie
  217. Jackdaw
  218. Rook
  219. Crow
  220. Hooded Crow
  221. Common Raven
  222. Starling
  223. House Sparrow
  224. Tree Sparrow
  225. Chaffinch
  226. Brambling
  227. Serin *
  228. Greenfinch
  229. Goldfinch
  230. Siskin
  231. Linnet
  232. Twite
  233. Lesser Redpoll
  234. Mealy Redpoll
  235. Bullfinch
  236. Hawfinch
  237. Lapland Longspur
  238. Snow Bunting
  239. Yellowhammer
  240. Cirl Bunting
  241. Reed Bunting
  242. Corn Bunting



Moths (Macros)  alphabetised    213 

Angle shades

Barred straw

Barred yellow

Beautiful golden Y

Beautiful hook-tip

Black arches



Bordered beauty

Bordered pug

Bright-line brown-eye


Brindled beauty

Brindled pug

Brown rustic

Brown-line bright-eye


Buff arches

Buff ermine

Buff tip

Burnished brass

Cabbage moth

Canary-shouldered thorn

Chinese character



Clouded border

Clouded drab

Clouded silver

Clouded-bordered brindle

Coast dart

Common carpet

Common emerald

Common footman

Common marbled carpet

Common pug

Common Quaker

Common rustic

Common swift

Common wave

Common wainscot

Copper underwing


Coxcomb prominent

Currant pug

Cypress pug

Dark arches

Dark-barred twin-spot carpet

Dark Spectacle

Dark spinach

Dark/grey dagger

Dingy footman

Dot moth

Dotted chestnut

Double square spot

Double-striped pug



Dusky brocade

Dusky sallow

Dusky thorn

Dwarf cream wave

Early grey

Early moth

Early thorn

Early toothed-stripe

Elephant hawkmoth

Emperor moth


Eyed hawkmoth


Flame shoulder

Flounced rustic

Four-dotted footman

Foxglove pug

Frosted green

Frosted orange

Garden carpet

Garden tiger

Ghost moth

Great prominent

Green carpet

Green pug

Green silver-lines

Grey pine carpet

Heart and club

Heart and dart

Hebrew character


Hummingbird hawkmoth

Iron prominent

July highflyer


Latticed heath

Large emerald

Large nutmeg

Large yellow underwing

Least black arches

Least carpet

Least yellow underwing

Leopard moth

Lesser cream wave

Lesser broad-bordered yellow underwing

Lesser swallow prominent

Lesser yellow underwing

Light arches

Light brocade

Light emerald

Lilac beauty

Lime hawkmoth

Lobster moth


Maiden’s blush

Map-winged swift

Marbled beauty

Marbled brown

Marbled minor

March moth

Marbled white spot

Mottled beauty

Mottled pug

Mottled rustic

Mottled umber

Mouse moth



Nut-tree tussock

Oak beauty

Orange footman

Orange Swift

Pale brindle beauty

Pale eggar

Pale mottled willow

Pale prominent

Pale tussock

Pale-shouldered brocade

Peach blossom

Pebble hook-tip

Peppered moth

Pine hawkmoth

Plain golden Y

Poplar grey

Poplar hawkmoth

Powdered Quaker

Purple bar

Red twin-spot carpet

Riband wave

Rosy footman

Rosy rustic

Royal mantle

Ruby tiger

Rustic shoulder-knot

Scalloped oak

Scarce footman

Scorched wing

Setaceous Hebrew character


Short-cloaked moth

Shoulder stripe

Shoulder-striped wainscot

Shuttle-shaped dart

Silver Y

Silver-ground carpet

Single-dotted wave

Six-striped rustic

Slender brindle

Small angle shades

Small blood-vein

Small brindled beauty

Small dusty wave

Small fan-foot

Small fan-footed wave

Small Quaker

Small rivulet

Small square-spot

Small yellow wave

Smoky wainscot




Spruce carpet

Square-spot rustic

Straw dot

Straw underwing


Swallow prominent

Swallow-tailed moth

Tawny speckled pug

The flame

Treble bar

Treble lines

Triple-spotted pug


V moth

V Pug


Varied coronet

Vine’s rustic

Waved umber

White ermine

White satin moth


Willow beauty

Winter moth

Yellow-barred brindle

Yellow shell


Micro moths to end of August 2016     54


  1. Barred marble (Celypha striana)
  2. Beautiful china-mark ( Nymphula nitdulata )
  3. Bee moth ( Aphomia sociella)
  4. Bird-cherry ermine ( Yponomeuta evonymella )
  5. Brown china-mark ( Elophila nymphaeata)
  6. Brown house moth   (Hofmannophila pseudospretella)
  7. Chequered grass veneer ( Catopria falsella )
  8. Codling moth (Cydia pomonella)
  9. Common drill ( Dichrorampha petiverella )
  10. Common grey (Scoparia ambiguallis)
  11. Common marble ( Celypha lacunana )
  12. Common plume ( Emmelina monodactyla)
  13. Cyclamen tortrix ( Clepsis spectrana )
  14. Dawn flat-body (Semioscopis steinkellneriana)
  15. Diamond- back moth   (Plutella xylostella)
  16. Dingy dowd (Blastobasis adustella)
  17. Dotted oak knot-horn ( Phycita roborella)
  18. Double striped tabby ( Hypsopygia glaucinalis )
  19. Elbow stripe grass-veneer (Agriphila geniculea)
  20. Elder pearl (Anania coronate)
  21. Fenland pearl (Anania perlucidalis)
  22. Garden grass-veneer   (Chrysoteuchia culmella)
  23. Garden pebble (Evergestis forficalis)
  24. Garden rose tortrix ( Acleris variegana )
  25. Gold triangle ( Hypsopygia costalis )
  26. Grass-veneer (Crambus pascuella)
  27. Large fruit-tree tortrix ( Archips podana)
  28. Large Ivy Tortrix   (Lozotaenia forsterana)
  29. Large tabby ( Aglossa pinguinalis)
  30. Little grey (Eudonia lacustrara)
  31. London dowd ( Blastobasis lacticolella)
  32. Long-horned flat-body ( Carcina quercana )
  33. Many plumed moth (Aluctia hexadactyla)
  34. Marbled orchard tortrix (Hedya nubiferana)
  35. March tubic (Diurnea fagella)
  36. Marbled piercer (Cydia splendana)
  37. Meal moth (Pyralis farinalis)
  38. Mother of pearl ( Pleuroptya ruralis )
  39. Obscure agg. ( Oegoconia agg. )
  40. Pale straw pearl ( Udea lutealis )
  41. Privet tortrix (Clepsis consimilana)
  42. Red-barred tortrix ( Ditula angustiorana )
  43. Ringed china-mark ( Parapoynx stratiotata )
  44. Rough-winged conch   (Phtheochroa rugosana)
  45. Rose tabby ( Endotricha flammealis )
  46. Small grey ( Eudonia mercurella )
  47. Small magpie (Anania hortulata)
  48. Spindle ermine (Yponomeuta cagnaglla)
  49. Sulphur Tubic ( Esperia sulphurella)
  50. Triple-blotched bell (Notocelia trimaculana)
  51. White shouldered house moth ( Endrosis sarcitrella)
  52. White-headed Ermel (Paraswammerdamia alibicapitella)
  53. Yellow-faced bell (Notocella cynosbatella)
  54. Yellow-spot tortrix (Pseudargyotoza conwagana)Butterflies to the end of August      24

    Red admiral



    Small tortoiseshell

    Speckled wood

    Green-vein white

    Orange tip

    Small white

    Holly blue

    Small copper

    Small heath

    Dark green fritillary

    Common blue

    Large heath

    Small pearl-bordered fritillary

    Green hairstreak

    Painted lady


    Large skipper

    Large white


    Small skipper



    Mammal list      21

    1. Rabbit.
    2. Stoat
    3. Hare
    4. Grey squirrel
    5. Common seal
    6. Roe deer
    7. Red deer
    8. Muntjak deer
    9. Sperm whale
    10. Grey seal
    11. Otter
    12. Weasel
    13. Bank vole
    14. Fallow deer
    15. Red squirrel
    16. Pine marten
    17. Beaver
    18. Daubenton’s bat
    19. Common pipistrelle
    20. Water vole
    21. Hedgehog 

      Reptiles & Amphibians 2016      2

      1. Grass snake
      2. Smooth newt


    Insects and other bits and bobs!       50

           (Thank you to those that have helped with Ids in this group)

    1. Common Wasp
    2. Ladybird 7 spot
    3. Ladybird harlequin
    4. Lacewing green
    5. Lacewing brown
    6. Bloody nosed beetle
    7. Red tailed Bumble bee
    8. White tailed Bumble bee
    9. Honey bee
    10. Snail
    11. Slug
    12. Wood ants
    13. Scottish wood ants
    14. Mining bees
    15. Froghopper
    16. Hawthorn shieldbug
    17. two banded longhorn beetle
    18. Poplar leaf beetle
    19. Woodlouse
    20. Earwig
    21. Earth worm
    22. Wolf spider
    23. Green dock beetle
    24. Green leafhopper
    25. Bee fly
    26. Green sawfly
    27. Dark bush-cricket
    28. Pantallon bee
    29. Bee-wolf
    30. Daddy-long-legs spider
    31. Ophion obscratus (wasp)
    32. Cock chaffer
    33. House spider
    34. Money spider
    35. Zebra spider
    36. Green fly
    37. Black fly
    38. Helophilus pendulus (type of hover fly!)
    39. Common field grasshopper
    40. Meadow grasshopper
    41. Mottled grasshopper
    42. Centipede
    43. Millipede
    44. Harvestman
    45. Carrion beetle
    46. Common green shieldbug
    47. Buff tailed bumble bee
    48. Southern oak bush cricket
    49. Pond skaters
    50. Water boatmen

 That makes a total of 606 and I think I need to work on the reptile/amphibian group!!!

Once again thank you so much for oyur support and sticking with me, all comments VERY welcome.









A first for the U K ? Oh I do hope so!

What a lovely day I have had today!

On Sunday a Western Purple Swamphen flew into Minsmere but having just got back from Scotland we didn’t really have the energy to go for it even though we probably should have. Yesterday Ian was golfing and I had a smashing day with Janice here but I was doing some planning around that bird! Hopefully it will be accepted as wild and it will then be a first for Britain so I certainly wanted it on my 2016 list! I thought we might go this morning and stay overnight but we decided not to so a day trip it was to be. I asked if any family wanted to join us and we were delighted to hear that both of our granddaughters, Alice and Matilda, said they wanted to come.IMG_7812 us 4

We collected the girls at 8am and we were off and on arrival at Minsmere our first stop was definitely going to be to find the star bird. We were in luck, although it wasn’t showing when we got there we didn’t have to wait long. He popped out from the reeds, never very far but we all saw it clearly and even managed a few pictues.

I do like a bird that I can be certain of once I have seen it and this one surely fits into that catergory! He is a big bird and his bright colour coupled with his even brighter bill, legs and huge feet, there is no mistaking it! Having watched him for a while we moved on and decided that the rest of our day we would just do what we fancied and the girls wated to head for the sea. There weren’t any other birds that we were after, in fact there weren’t a great many birds at all, although there was no shortage of egrets! So off we went for a walk.

We headed to the sea, where Alice was keen to touch the water.

It had turned into a bright, though breezy day but thankfully we found quite a few butterflies  near the beach. We were delighted to see a common blue and before long there were loads of them!

Next we found a new one for all of us, if we had seen it before we certainly hadn’t identified it! A Grayling, new for our list so we were very pleased. There was also a variety of grasshoppers that I hope we will be able to ID

Next stop was to be lunch so we headed off to the cafe, making some stops along the way. We added two new insects that we had never seen before, one rather nice the other I was less keen on!  First was the Pantaloon bee, a mining bee that carries loads of pollen on his hind legs, in flight it looks yellow! The second was the Bee-wolf which is actually a wasp and a cunning one at that! It burrows undergound to lay its eggs then drags honey bees into the tunnel and stores them there so when the eggs hatch they have the bees to feed on. Yeuk!IMG_7928 Bee-wolf

When we had nearly reached the cafe we saw a water vole, sadly no time for a photo but we were chuffed. The budlias were in full bloom and certainly attracting the butterlies, painted ladies, peacocks, red admirals and even the occasional large skipper!

IMG_8014 MatildaIn the afternoon Alice and Matilda followed a nature trail which took us to various places on the site and even led us to damsleflies and a super dragonfly too! It was really lovely having the girls with us, they made it a lovely day and of course that is helped by their behaviour, they are a treat to be out with!


Nature trail completted there were still a couple of things we wanted to find. When chatting to Ian (not our Ian but a friend that works at Minsmere) he told the girls about somethings that caught thier imaginations especially somewhere you could see what it is like to be in a Sand martin wall! We thought we were going to fail to find it but a the end of the afternoon we found it and I must say it was pretty cool.

Alice tried out being a bird on a nest but Matilda gave it a miss!IMG_7990 nest

Hopefully before too long the Swamphen will be accepted, well its going on my list tonight! So a new bird and a new butterfly and some extra insects too, all boosting the year list. The bird was great but having the gorgeous Alice and Matlida along really  made it a smashing day and I hope they come out with us again soon.


February round up

Well I can truthfully say the second month has been as good as the first and we have been very lucky to have had such a mild winter. The weather hasn’t kept us in on many days and to be honest we do need to stay in occasionally to keep on tops of routine jobs that need doing laundry etc!). We have had 23 more year ticks including two life ticks not bad for two months in. I was very glad to eventually catch the Pallid harrier as it took several attempts. Our other life tick was the Ferruginous duck, often called a fudge duck and was also one I was pleased to get as we had been disappointed by one a few years ago. Strange how some birds are particular about their breeding partner where as others, including many ducks, are more into free love! This was how our original fudge duck let us down as it was shown not to be pure!!!

Definitely the highlight of February was our trip to Suffolk, it was last minute inspiration and an excellent time. From the little Rock pipit as we walked to see the glossy ibis, to the warm welcome at the Eels Foot Inn.


IMG_7576 (Custom)


I enjoyed playing with my camera and taking some short video clips which I hope to do something with probably at the end of the year when I have time! Early one morning I was videoing this Mute swan when a young one swam alongside and they swam around mirroring each other, ’twas a beautiful sight.

There were ducks, waders and small birds to watch to say nothing of the huge bonus of the appearance of an otter! At last we saw our first Great spotted woodpecker of the years and I don’t think any day didn’t provide at least one Robin.  We met so many lovely strangers and I am not going to attempt to pick any favourites this month.

IMG_7626 (Custom)

Of course Suffolk was only a few days in the month we visited many other places, old and new. Moths have been almost completely absent again this month , I think they need the warmer nights to tempt them out. I hadn’t expected to be adding a sperm whale to our list, that was some sight but such a sad if inevitable end for him. A White stork was another surprise!IMG_8816 White stork (Custom)

The past couple of months have proved that Ian and I can be happy in each others company; I say this as we haven’t lived alone since the birth of our first gorgeous son in 1972! Two more equally gorgeous children followed and the three of them have always been and continue to be, the hugest blessing for both of us. Twenty years of fostering meant our time sharing our home with children has been longer than most peoples!IMG_7745 (Custom)

It has been fun getting out and about, deciding where to go and sharing successes and occasional disappointments. March has already got off to a good start and I am confident it will be at least as good as the first two!

Thank you for reading this blog, it is great to know you are with us! I do love comments partly as without them I don’t know who is reading as it shows me numbers but not names!!!

Here is the list of birds seen up until the end of February, the ones in bold are new this month, the ones in red are life ticks:

  1. Mute Swan
  2. Bewick Swan
  3. Whooper Swan
  4. Pink-footed Goose
  5. White-fronted Goose
  6. Greylag Goose
  7. Canada Goose
  8. Barnacle Goose
  9. Brent Goose
  10. Egyptian Goose
  11. Common Shelduck
  12. Mandarin Duck
  13. Eurasian Wigeon
  14. Gadwall
  15. Eurasian Teal
  16. Mallard
  17. Pintail
  18. Shoveler
  19. Red-crested Pochard
  20. Common Pochard
  21. Ferruginous Duck
  22. Tufted duck
  23. Greater Scaup
  24. Long-tailed Duck
  25. Common Scoter
  26. Velvet Scoter
  27. Goldeneye
  28. Smew
  29. Red-breasted Merganser
  30. Goosander
  31. Red-legged Partridge
  32. Grey Partridge
  33. Common Pheasant
  34. Golden Pheasant
  35. Little Grebe
  36. Great Crested Grebe
  37. Red-necked Grebe
  38. Fulmar
  39. Cormorant
  40. Shag
  41. Bittern
  42. Little Egret
  43. Great Egret
  44. Grey Heron
  45. White Stork
  46. Glossy Ibis
  47. Red Kite
  48. Marsh Harrier
  49. Hen Harrier
  50. Pallid Harrier
  51. Eurasian Sparrowhawk
  52. Common Buzzard
  53. Rough-legged Buzzard
  54. Kestrel
  55. Merlin
  56. Peregrine Falcon
  57. Water Rail
  58. Moorhen
  59. Coot
  60. Oystercatcher
  61. Pied Avocet
  62. Ringed Plover
  63. European Golden Plover
  64. Grey Plover
  65. Lapwing
  66. Knot
  67. Sanderling
  68. Purple Sandpiper
  69. Dunlin
  70. Ruff
  71. Common Snipe
  72. Black-tailed Godwit
  73. Bar-tailed Godwit
  74. Curlew
  75. Spotted Redshank
  76. Common Redshank
  77. Common Greenshank
  78. Lesser Yellowlegs
  79. Ruddy Turnstone
  80. Grey Phalarope
  81. Mediterranean Gull
  82. Black-headed Gull
  83. Common Gull
  84. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  85. Herring Gull
  86. Iceland Gull
  87. Glaucous Gull
  88. Great Black-backed Gull
  89. Rock Pigeon
  90. Stock Pigeon
  91. Wood Pigeon
  92. Collared Dove
  93. Barn Owl
  94. Tawny Owl
  95. Short-eared Owl
  96. Common Kingfisher
  97. Green Woodpecker
  98. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  99. Wood Lark
  100. Sky Lark
  101. Shore Lark (horned lark)
  102. Meadow Pipit
  103. Rock Pipit
  104. Water Pipit
  105. Pied Wagtail
  106. Wren
  107. Dunnock
  108. Robin
  109. Black Redstart
  110. Stonechat
  111. Blackbird
  112. Fieldfare
  113. Song Thrush
  114. Redwing
  115. Mistle Thrush
  116. Cetti’s Warbler
  117. Dartford Warbler
  118. Common Chiffchaff
  119. Goldcrest
  120. Penduline tit
  121. Long-tailed Tit
  122. Marsh Tit
  123. Coal Tit
  124. Blue Tit
  125. Great Tit
  126. Nuthatch
  127. Treecreeper
  128. Great Grey Shrike
  129. Jay
  130. Magpie
  131. Jackdaw
  132. Rook
  133. Crow
  134. Starling
  135. House Sparrow
  136. Tree Sparrow
  137. Chaffinch
  138. Brambling
  139. Serin
  140. Greenfinch
  141. Goldfinch
  142. Siskin
  143. Linnet
  144. Twite
  145. Lesser Redpoll
  146. Mealy Redpoll
  147. Bullfinch
  148. Lapland Longspur (bunting)
  149. Snow Bunting
  150. Yellowhammer
  151. Reed Bunting
  152. Corn bunting
Moths     6
Winter moth
Mottled umber
Pale brindled beauty
Early moth
Common quaker
Early grey
Other insects.  4
Lacewing green
Ladybird 7 spot
Ladybird harlequin
Animals ( or What no wings! )  10
Grey squirrel
Grey seal
Roe deer
Muntjac deer
Red deer
Sperm whale
Grand total  172











A Suffolk Tale

One of the real perks of our special year is the freedom that has come with it. At the beginning of the week we noticed the weather looked good in Suffolk so we were able to pack our bags, book a room and go.

I am not exaggerating when I say we have had a brilliant time including a tasty curry last night and  our farewell morning today. Last night we decided to set an alarm early again, to make the most of every moment and go to Island Mere hide before breakfast, but when the alarm went off we weren’t quite so keen, after all it was set to be even colder than yesterday! It didn’t take long for us to decide to go for it, after all it was our last morning near Minsmere, at least for this trip! It was another beautiful morning, I wonder if they are all like this in Suffolk!

I was right though it was cold, how do those little birds survive nights in the frozen reeds? This little Water pipit was busy nipping in and out and then going for a brief skate on the ice!

The hide was busier today and I am struck by the atmosphere there, they seem a friendly bunch who obviously know each other well but were happy enough to welcome outsiders. I have been enjoying meeting so many new people, mostly so friendly and some excellent characters. I think if Minsmere were our local reserve we would find our way to Island hide rather a lot of mornings to enjoy the usual and the unusual.IMG_8034 (Custom)

Mute swans looked stunning in the morning light and again the Marsh harriers were flying high. It does seem strange sitting in such a beautiful place with Sizewell looming in the background!

I didn’t know it then but very shortly we were in for such a treat, one of the highlights of our time away. We had briefly seen an otter swimming another day but this morning with ice on the water it made a fantastic appearance. He came out of the ice stayed a while then down he went again, repeating this until he reached the unfrozen water and off he swam. All in the hide were thrilled to have seen him so well.

Back to The Eel’s Foot for breakfast before checking out, if you ever need somewhere to stay in that area we do recommend it. We had considered leaving for home then and making a couple of detours on the way but we changed our minds and decided instead to go back to have a last visit at Minsmere then head straight home.  Due to a concern about Avian pox the feeders near the visitors centre had been taken down but the ever hopeful Pheasants that lurk under them don’t seem to have got the message.

Time to leave Minsmere with the hope that we will return again soon. Seeing how many trees have been newly cut down I trust there will still be plenty when we come back! Hoping too that the abundance of rabbits continues, I just can’t resist them!

Thank you for joining in our Suffolk tale, it has been lovely and reinforced our decision to take a ‘gap year’.

I thought it would be fitting to end this tale with a tail!IMG_8134 (Custom)



A cold start

To say we had a cold start to the day is an understatement, it was freezing and we had to scrape the car before we could head out. We were treated to the sight of several deer on our pre breakfast trip to Minsmere, Muntjac and Roe on the way and Red deer from the hide. It was another beautiful sunrise although a little cloud meant the light was not so striking, although I think even the hide itself looks good in the early morning light. I assume due to the cold the birds were slower to wake up today, the Marsh harriers appeared quite a bit later than yesterday and we could see a Snipe sitting but it didn’t move the whole time we were there!

I could easily get used to coming back from an early morning bird watch to have someone cook me breakfast but after tomorrow it will be back to usual! After refuelling ourselves we headed off to Westleton Marsh in search of Dartford warblers. This may be a good time to point out that during our Pursuing wings (and other things) year we are only counting things that we both see so if Ian or I miss something it will not appear on my list. So imagine the feeling when after a really good look around the heath I saw a Dartford warbler on some heather but it was gone from sight before Ian could get on to it. No  problem we thought it will pop up again shortly but it didn’t, no sign of it. We spent some time waiting, looking and hoping and in the end we were rewarded, another one appeared in a tree and flew down in front of us then away…relief it can go on the list! We also first heard then saw two Woodlark so that was two new one for the year.

Next stop Dunwich heath also a good place for Dartford warblers and plenty more beside or so we thought. As is often the case at good birding places a board was up showing recent sightings, this was the list: Dartford warbler, Magpie and that was it!!! We did enjoy the walk across the heath although caught no sight of a warbler but rest assured there was no shortage of Magpies. I love to see birds on gorse and the only one that cooperated to day was a little Robin although even he was looking away from me, gazing out to sea I think! The best was yet to come we were treated to two beautify Short eared owls flying over us, sadly too fast for me to get any decent shots but I include one I took just because it was so lovely to see.

We caught sight of a herd of deer but they were rather well hidden.

We decided return to Minsmere for the afternoon although we somehow managed to miss out lunch, not our best bit of planning! There were no particular birds to look for today so we just enjoyed  a good trek round. We saw a nice female Stonechat on the way and several Chiffchaffs. It seems you can’t go far there without meeting rabbits and I can’t resist taking pictures of them!

We are back at The Eels Foot now and will soon be going across for something to eat, a rather nice vegetarian curry is calling me! So I will end with my favourite photos today which are certainly not of my favourite bird but he was obliging so I include a couple of shots of a Magpie. We go home tomorrow but may make the odd detour on our journey.

Birds: 146

Mammals: 10



2 plus 1 before breakfast!

One advantage to our decision to get up for an early Minsmere trip before breakfast is that early really isn’t very early at all as the sun didn’t rise till gone 7am! So after a fairly good nights sleep we leapt into action and were in Island Mere Hide before the sun had made an appearance having seen a barn owl on our short journey and I was very pleased indeed. IMG_7773

The sunrise was beautiful and it was accompanied by a singing Cetti’s warbler (new for the year) and the sight of a group of Bewick swans leaving their overnight accommodation presumably to go and find a field to spend the day grazing in.

Marsh harriers were soon busying themselves and entertaining us and our fellow watchers. There was one particular bird I was hoping to see this morning and we knew they did often make an appearance there, Snipe. Suddenly Claire, one of the RSPB workers we had met yesterday, spotted a Snipe working its way along the edge of the water, another first for the year.

Two ticks before breakfast, not bad but it didn’t finish there. As we were closing up our windows in the hide someone spotted an Otter, brilliant although distant and swimming away from us. (We are going to Mull later this year and are really hoping to see Otter there.)

Back for breakfast then a return trip to Minsmere and another chance to look for the two Smew that we failed to find yesterday. After a bit of a hunt we found them and like so much they were very distant but seemed to be much nearer another hide across the water. Off we went and did indeed get better views but still some way away. We walked back the long way and saw several small birds including two small warblers that I am still not 100% sure what they were although they may turn out to simply be Chiffchaffs!


We had decided to spend dusk in Island hide again and hope for some more treats! The first thing we saw when we looked out was an empty expanse of water apart from two birds sitting in the distance, they were the Smew we had been hunting earlier! They were resting but later flew around and re landed before again taking off and leaving.  The evening light was beautiful and quite a few Bewick swans flew in presumably to spend the night.

I was delighted to see not one but two Snipe close in and feeding ferociously, just as the light was nearly gone a third Snipe joined them, a good day for Snipe and the end of another good day for us at Minsmere. Back to the Eel’s foot for something tasty to eat and hopefully a good night’s sleep, I wonder what tomorrow will bring.


Our tally is now:

Birds 144

Mammals 9

Moths 6


Round and round we went!

The past few days have been cold, wet and windy and not an encouragement to go out but a change was on the way. We decided to have a change of area and see what Minsmere had to offer so a quick look on the internet and we had booked a room for a couple of nights away. We had stayed at The Eels Foot before and were more than  happy to return and see if we still like it!

I checked RBA to see if anything was on our route that would be worth dropping in on. One stood out and that was a Glossy ibis at Hollesley Marshes RSPB it wasn’t much of a detour so off we went. We got so close to the site…several times in fact! Somehow we managed to drive round in circles and we were beginning to despair when we saw an RSPB sign but no they were the wrong marshes!

If we had known that it was by a prison I think we would have arrived earlier but eventually we found the site and the task of finding the bird proved to be, thankfully, much easier.

The Ibis was distant as the pictures show but it was good to see it alongside an egret and several herons. The weather had been a bit grim, rain for a lot of the journey but like our mood it improved whilst we were at Hollesley.

We may have seen a Yellow-legged gull but need to check some pictures. We did see an insect which I hope to Id but for now we can’t count it. On our way I spotted  a beautiful deer among the trees and unusually it waited for us to reverse and stood to have his picture taken.


We checked in at The Eels Foot Inn, left our bags there and went straight off to Minsmere as time was going by quickly.

It was gone three before we arrived at Minsmere and sat to eat some lunch, that was over seven hours since I had filled the food flasks and yes lunch was still good and hot! A Magpie kept us company while we ate and the Pheasants and rabbits were near the visitors centre.

We had a look for two female Smew that are on site but we couldn’t find them, we will try again tomorrow. We had been told the best place to be try to see harriers coming in to roost and sometimes but not always, that includes a Hen harrier. We were also told of nearer place we could put the car which would be easier to get to in the dark.

Hooray at last we saw a Greater spotted woodpecker, not sure how it has taken us this long but I suspect we will be seeing them all over the place now!

It was beautiful looking out over the marshes as the light faded and we were fortunate to see not only a Hen harrier but a Bittern flew right in front of the hide…brilliant, he was bird number 141. We met two charming young ladies in the hide who both work for the RSPB and it turned out are staying in the same place as us. Even they hadn’t heard of the RSPB site that we had struggled to find this morning!!!

Back to The Eels foot to get settled in and have something light to eat after our rather late lunch. We plan an early night in the hope that we will be up early tomorrow morning to return to the hide on Minsmere, before breakfast, as we hear that Otters sometime make an appearance there.

Day one of our Suffolk trip has gone well and I am looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings!