Category Archives: nature reserves

visiting Suffolk’s nature reserves, large and small

Curlew at Melton Riverside

I love curlews – they may be common as muck round these parts but the beautiful plumage, strange down curved bill and haunting bubbling call make them special.

Curlew at Melton Riverside

Curlew at Melton Riverside

The little nature reserve at Melton has a free car park and you can get a view of the riverside mudflats near Wilford Bridge

Riverside

Riverside

 

the board gives some of the history

the board gives some of the history

It’s a pleasant walk along the river into Woodbridge, there is another small level crossing to get into the town. On the other side to Wilford Bridge going north there is a footpath toward Broweswell reedbeds and it’s worth a look at the birds on the riverside there too

Kingfisher in the reedbeds

Kingfisher in the reedbeds

Trimley Marshes Nature Reserve

Trimley Marshes - next to the massive container port of Felixstowe

Trimley Marshes – next to the massive container port of Felixstowe

SWT reserve Trimley Marshes is a long walk from the car park – about 2 miles to the hides. That’s good because it means you can sometimes have the place to yourself 🙂 On a bright winter day like today it is the Suffolk coast at it’s best, despite the surreal juxtaposition of the low rumbling sounds of the container port with the calls of the birds. The noise of the container port fades with distance. The port is behind you when looking at the birds, the sound wasn’t obtrusive from the second hide onwards.

tranquil view oof the reedbeds at Trimley

tranquil view of the reedbeds at Trimley

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Brent Geese arriving

I was treated to some lovely views of winter ducks – teal, wigeon, shelduck, and it was good to see a decent size flock of Lapwing.

recording of teal and wigeon – the wigeon are the whisting sounds and the teal are the regular metallic sounds

Handsome male Stonechat and his mate in front of the hide

Handsome male Stonechat and his mate in front of the hide

Closer to me was a male Stonechat and his mate, while in the hedgerows on the way out a flock of bum-barrels skitted across. Continue reading

Lackford Lakes ringing with the sound of Teal calls

Tucked away off the A1101 it’s easy to overshoot the turnoff because the bend of the road means the sign isn’t visible till you are nearly on the turn – even knowing that it caught me out. The low winter light was a treat on the leafless trees, painting them this lovely golden colour.

lovely golden light on the reserve

lovely golden light on the reserve

A lot of the water was still ice-bound, with a few channels of open water. All over the sailing club lake there was a marvellous ringing sound of teal. Not worth recording however since it sounded like the RAF were warming up their afterburners at RAF Honington.

The island only seemed to hold about twenty teal but their calls rang out over the water sounding like many more. I had the reserve largely to myself, with only a couple of photographers with hardy camo gear in the morning.

Visitor centre - newly upgraded in January

Visitor centre – newly upgraded in January

Monday seems to be the quietest day – the visitor centre wasn’t open though Suffolk Wildlife Trust did leave access to the toilets which is a kindness 😉 The small birds were staking out territories in the hazel coppice which was alive with the sound of competing great tits, which seem early to me – they haven’t started seriously marking out territory nearer home.

hazel coppice at Lackford Lakes

hazel coppice at Lackford Lakes

Lackford Lakes SWT

Mill Stream Nature Reserve

Part of the nature reserves series

Mill Stream is a local nature reserve running along the boundary between Rushmere St Andrew and Foxhall Heath, starting from Rushmere Golf course and running through to Foxhall Road dip, opposite the Nuffield Hospital. I started from the Brendon Drive access parking my bike there – there is no car parking for this local nature reserve, and followed the Jubilee path marker 12

There’s some interesting local history – the large Oak trees mark the boundary between the parishes.

Goldfinch flock feeding near the old shooting range

Further towards Bixley there was a Boer War/WW1 shooting range, with the large sandbank there to catch any stray projectiles. Apparently brave souls hoisted targets above the wall that gave them some protection.

This extended bank absorbed stray WW1 projectiles from the shooting range

This extended bank absorbed stray WW1 projectiles from the shooting range

Robin, with long-tailed tits flock at the start

The reserve is surprisingly quiet, particularly at the northern end, though you’re never that far away from human habitation here.There are some muddy parts to the path where it runs close to the stream, particularly at the Rushmere common end.

It gets noisier towards the Foxhall Road Dip – the path does carry on across the road but it’s a fast road and visibility is dreadful.

This was a pleasant little gem – I’d driven past the Foxhall Road dip many times for years without knowing this was here

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Sightings

If I will show up at noon I’m not going to see/hear that much 😉

  • Robin
  • Blue Tit
  • Great Tit
  • Blackbird
  • Dunnock
  • Starling
  • Jay
  • Magpie
  • Goldfinch
  • long-tailed Tit
  • Chaffinch
  • Woodpigeon

Info

Parking: none
dogs: present. Should be on leads according to the leaflet to avoid disturbing the wildlife
condtions: mostly dry but some parts were muddy across the width of the path. You don’t need wellies but decent walking boots help.

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