And so we come to the last day of this particular holiday – our second sojourn in Suffolk with Bessie.  Our stay at St Margaret’s campsite at Shottisham has worked out well and it has been great to spend some time with the Ozzies.

We decided to spend our last few hours walking along towpath next to the river Deben from Melton into Woodbridge.  Sally, Sean and the boys had already done it and we were impressed by the wading birds they had seen on the mudflats there.

So, after packing up Bessie, we drove the few miles to Melton and parked her in the car park by the railway station where the riverside tow-path along the river wall begins.

Bright yellow lichen cover this tree

…and wildflowers and reeds abound







The sun was bright in the sky and it made photography difficult as we were looking straight into it at first.  A large flock of Canada Geese were taking it easy on the mudflats (see featured image above) and we spotted a few Curlews, using their enormously long curved beaks to delve for food in the mud.


There were, as usual, plenty of Black Headed Gulls but it was great to see an elegant Little Egret also.

With the sun slightly behind us it was easier to see and photograph the bright orangey-red legs of the Redshanks as they foraged around at the water’s edge:





Seeing the Redshank with a juvenile Black Headed Gull, you can appreciate the size difference:

We suddenly noticed a lot of activity amongst the seaweed covered areas of mud – several smaller plumpish birds rushing around pushing up stones and seaweed.  A look in the bird books later confirmed that these were Turnstones – the reason obvious as they hunted for food with their wedge-shaped beaks.

How well is this pair of Turnstones camouflaged!

This Lapwing is enjoying his stroll along the water’s edge whilst nearby a Swan is swimming behind this picturesque old wreck.













We were thrilled to see the pale chestnut breast of this Black-tailed Godwit and when he spread his wings for a moment you could really see the bold black and white markings.









But I think my favourite was the little Greenshank – so delicate and fine with his pale olive legs.

Along the way there were many boat yards to our right where boats were being repaired or stored

or moored in the river the long job of re-painting an old gunboat was being lovingly undertaken.

By the time we reached Woodbridge my feet were beginning to hurt and I was dying for a nice cold drink so we stopped at the smart cafe by the Tide Mill for some refreshment. We then decided to get the train back to Melton – the railway line had run beside us all the way.  Time was getting on and we needed to make our way back to Kent.

Sally and Sean were also leaving Orford, where they had been walking in the morning, and stopped off at Melton on their way to swap experiences and look at our photos.  The journey home was fairly uneventful but we heard that there was quite a build up of traffic on the M25 so managed to circumvent this by joining near the Dartford Crossing.

We arrived home in the early evening and reflected on the success of this latest foray into Suffolk.  I don’t think it will be the last time for either of us.