What could be better than birding along the glorious Suffolk coast in spring? From the local reedbeds Sedge and Reed Warblers fire out their subtly different songs, whilst the far-carrying boom of a Bittern resonates through your body and Bearded Tits “ping” as they scurry across the reed tops. On shorepools, the cacophony of breeding Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns assaults our ears and 'demure-looking' Avocets aggressively defend their nests. For sheer birding spectacle, east Suffolk is hard to beat!
As spring creeps towards summer and the days lengthen, many summer migrants have arrived, filling the air with song as they proclaim their territories and settle down to breed. Days begin with the beautiful (and never-to-be-forgotten) operatic song of Nightingales – here in Suffolk they are at their most vocal at this time of year. And if that's is not enough to get you out of bed, then how about the thrill of watching an indigo-and-maroon male Dartford Warbler singing from a patch of citrus Gorse or the lilting song of a Woodlark in display flight above the heather.
Along the southeast coast of Suffolk are some hidden birding gems. Hollesley and Boyton are two new RSPB reserves, near to the hamlet of Shingle Street. Grasshopper Warblers reel from ditches and on the flooded fields many spring waders and duck cavort. In May, Boyton Marsh RSPB has breeding Avocets and bright Yellow Wagtails that feed in the flooded meadows. This is nowadays one of the best places to find Turtle Doves in Suffolk as they purr from the wires.
Exclusive to our tour is the opportunity to visit with David to the new RSPB-managed reserve at Snape - which is not open to the public - as well as nearby Snape Warren, of which David is the reserve manager.
Of course, no visit to the Suffolk coast would be complete without a visit to the RSPB's flagship reserve at Minsmere. Established in 1947 for the protection of nesting Avocets, Minsmere is ever-expanding and managed to create an impressive mosaic of habitats. Reedbeds meet stony pasture and mature woodland abuts coastal heath, while bird-rich flooded wetlands and the world-famous ‘scrapes’ - Minsmere's pioneeering manmade shore pools - are alive with so many species it can be hard to know what to look at first!
At this time of year, we’ll check favoured spots along the coast for incoming migrants such as Ring Ouzel, while the sibilant song of Willow Warblers floats from fresh-leaved birch. The songs of Blackcap and Garden Warbler can be tricky hard to tell apart, but our guide will take you through the differences; Yellowhammers call for their simple lunch and Firecrests now breed locally, too. Spring birdwatching is always full of surprises, but even more so in coastal Suffolk with rare waders, Black Terns and Bluethroat possible on passage - and perhaps even Roseate Tern.
Our spring tour is based at the delightful Westleton Crown, renowned for its comfortable accommodation, friendly service and great food - and set within a ‘stones’ throw’ of many of our favourite birding spots... just down the road in fact from Westleton Heath and Minsmere!
Whether you are new to birdwatching or more experienced, guide David Fairhurst will be on hand throughout, to take you to the best spots and ensure you have as much fun as possible whilst seeing lots of great birds and wildlife.
Limosa has operated numerous bird tours to Suffolk over the past 34 years... Join us in May and treat yourself to the best of British birding!