We started at the Island Mere hide where I saw marsh harriers, reed warblers, a sedge warbler, a common tern, swifts, sand martins and brief flight views of bearded tits across the reed tops but there was no sign of the recently reported purple heron or red footed falcon. Next stop was the Bittern hide where the same range of birds were on view before we headed to the West hide overlooking The Scrape where avocets, common terns, Mediterranean gulls, lapwings, greylag geese and barnacle geese were easily seen.
Onwards along the North Wall towards the cafe at Dunwich Cliffs and I managed to get a lovely close flight view of a male bearded tit over the reeds along with more marsh harriers and a common blue butterfly but there was no sign of any stone curlews out on the heath, apparently they are nesting this year out of sight from the footpath and are only occassionally seen.
Lunch at the Dunwich Cliff cafe was very tasty and we were joined by a variety of chaffinches including a bold male with a silver ring on its right leg but unfortunately with papillomavirus growths on its right leg below the ring and around its beak.
Pheasent at the RSPB Cafe
Small Tortoiseshell, Snape Maltings
Reed Bunting, Snape Maltings
I eventually found the reed bed viewing platform, hearing a cuckoo along the way, and was met with good views of a hobby flying around a large circular area of reeds bounded all around by trees. It was hot and humid and still and was sweltering when the sun eventually reappeared between the clouds with the reed bed abuzz with Norfolk hawkers and four spotted chasers flitting about everywhere. Walking on to the next viewing platform and I eventually managed some nice views of 6 - 8 hobbys feeding over the reeds or perched in nearby trees, very mobile and fast and difficult to keep track of in the heat haze as they disappeared amongst the channels in the reeds. Unfortunately there was no sign of the recently reported red footed falcon but the views of the hobbys were excellent and with a booming bittern heard and a pair of marsh harriers flying around too it was quite magical before it was time to head back to the car park to meet David for the drive home to Ipswich.
North Warren Reed Bed
Four Spotted Chasers