We awoke to bright sunshine and a temperature rising above 21 degrees at our campsite in Suffolk.


Our hostess had already been out for a ride by the time we got up and we arrived at RSPB Minsmere in great anticipation by about 11am.


The Visitor Centre was abuzz with excitement with plenty of birds being seen already from the various hides, including the celebrated Great White Egret at the Island Mere Hide.

We decided to start off in the Bittern Hide, where we had seen our first close up Bittern and a wonderful Kingfisher last year. No such luck this year – the reeds had spread to such an extent that there was a mininum of water in between. Nothing to be seen at all.

Nevermind, there was Island Mere to look forward to…

There were plenty of birds there but so far away that photos were difficult. The promised Great White Egret was in evidence but about 100m away. At first he secreted himself in the reeds but, using the long lens, Peter managed to get a photo.


They are extraordinary creatures – a rare visitor to Britain and almost dinosaur-like with their amazingly long necks. He did eventually take to the water but, again, a long way from us.


A Marsh Harrier was patrolling overhead…


On the water in front of the hide – albeit still about 50m away – there were lots of Coots, some Mute Swans, various Ducks and some Cormorants, who seemed to be doing their version of the dance from Zorba the Greek…


The only other bird of note was this Gadwall – plain but elegant:


On the long trek back to the visitor centre we passed this dinnerplate-sized Parassol Mushroom…


…and what Peter thinks is the studio that Springwatch used this year (they had been filming Autumnwatch and the deer rut just outside Minsmere this week – although we didn’t see them).


A short stop for a rest:


At the North Hide there was nothing much to see apart from these Highland cattle…


…but we spotted this Jay on our way to the East Hide.


To get to the East Hide you walk along the shore beside the North Sea – and pretty breezy it was, despite the sun.


There were many more birds to be seen at this hide – Teal, Godwits, Shelduck and Lapwing but again, not exactly close.


Green-winged Teal



and, just for our son-in-law, Sean, there were a few Avocets in the distance.


As we left the hide for the long walk back to the Visitor Centre a little brown bird appeared on the grass in front of us – a young Reed Bunting – and the sun began to sink into the reeds.





We felt a slight disappointment that we hadn’t had good views of the birds at Minsmere but it was a good day out on what has turned out to be the hottest Halloween since records began.

Back home tomorrow and the end, for now, of our blog. Until the next time of course…