Guided butterfly, botanical & birdwatching holidays
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Suffolk Coast & Heaths

Suffolk Coast & Heaths


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We’re delighted to offer a new birdwatching holiday on our own local patch! Let us show you the delights of the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty!

The county of Suffolk, like the rest of East Anglia, is a gem for birding. Few have mastered its diversity. From the River Stour in the south, to the River Waveney and the Broads in the north and from The Brecks in the west to the coast in the east, the county provides something for everyone. The Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a stunning landscape, packed full of wildlife within 155 square miles of tranquil and unspoilt landscape, including wildlife-rich estuaries, ancient heaths, windswept shingle beaches and historic towns and villages. Birding in Suffolk is a joy as the landscape of the county is diverse, and so is the range of wildlife that inhabits it. Join us to explore half a dozen of the coast’s top sites at a relaxed pace for maximum enjoyment.

Our base for the break will be The Westleton Crown – a friendly hotel near the Suffolk Heritage coast between Southwold and Aldeburgh. At the nearby heath, birds of open heath and light scrub are well-represented, including Tree Pipit, Dartford Warbler, Stonechat and Nightjar. We shall set aside one evening to hear the latter churring at dusk. In the woodland areas, we’ll also enjoy the singing of Nightingale and roding Woodcock. After checking into the hotel at Friday lunchtime, we head south to North Warren RSPB near Aldeburgh for the afternoon. This is a wonderful reserve consisting of grazing marsh, lowland heath, reed bed and woodland, where we hope to encounter breeding Bittern, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Nightjar, Woodlark, Nightingale and Dartford Warbler. Potential invertebrates we might spot include Hairy Dragonfly, Red-eyed Damselfly and Green Hairstreak.

On our second day, we head north to Carlton Marshes SWT on the edge of Lowestoft. This reserve consists of 120 acres of grazing marsh, peat pools and fen, is home to a wide range of wetland and Broadland birds including Reed, Sedge and Cetti’s Warblers, Bearded Reedling, Hobby and Marsh Harrier. Other notable flora and fauna we may see include Water Vole, dragonflies and the rare Water Soldier and Raft Spider. After a packed lunch, we will return south to Benacre Broad NNR near the impressive ruin of Covehithe church, where we will explore coastal woodland, saline lagoons, reed beds and heathland covering 393 hectares. Over 100 breeding bird species use the reserve including Marsh Harrier, Bearded Reedling, Water Rail, wildfowl and in some years Bittern. Woodlark, Hobby and Wheatear breed on heathland areas and Little Tern fish off the coast. Other noteworthy species here include Lagoon Sand Shrimp, Starlet Sea Anemone and Grey Hair Grass.

Our third day we remain in the same locality. In the morning, we will visit Hen Reedbed NNR near Southwold, which consists of reed bed, grazing marsh, scrape and estuary. Key birds here include Marsh Harrier, Bittern, Bearded Reedling, Hobby, Lapwing, Snipe, Avocet, Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits, Reed and Sedge Warblers. Passage migrants such as Wood and Green Sandpipers are a possibility too. Otters and Water Voles are frequently seen, as are Four-spot Chaser and Hairy Dragonfly. There is also a Brown Argus colony close to the car park. After a picnic lunch, we head south to Dingle Marshes near Dunwich – a rich tapestry of grazing marsh, reed bed, shingle beach, fresh and saline lagoons with forest and heath. Bittern, Marsh Harrier and Bearded Reedling breed in the reed bed. Also, grabbing our attention, will be Lapwing, Avocet, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Hobby and hopefully a plethora of passage waders. This site is internationally important for Starlet Sea Anemone – the rarest sea anemone in Britain. There is the chance of Otter and Water Vole too.

Our last morning ends on a high note when we visit the important RSPB reserve at Minsmere. Since 2014, the BBC’s ‘Springwatch’ has been filmed at the reserve amidst its venerated habitats, including coastal lagoons, ‘the scrape’, freshwater reed bed, grazing marsh, vegetated dunes, heathland, arable reversion and woodland. In May, it is possible to see over 100 species in a single day. Marsh Harrier, Bearded Reedling, Bittern, Cetti’s and Dartford Warblers, Little Egret, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers are present all year. Breeding species include Hobby, Avocet, Lapwing, Redshank, Common, Sandwich and Little Terns, Mediterranean Gull, Sand Martin, warblers, Nightingale, Nightjar, Woodlark and Stone Curlew (sometimes visible). Passage waders include Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank and Ruff, whilst rarities such as Wryneck and Red-backed Shrike are regular. After a packed lunch, guests are welcome to remain on the reserve or depart.

We look forward to welcoming you to Suffolk for what promises to be a memorable tour!




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