A feast of wild­fowl and rap­tors on the Suf­folk coast

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - PAUL TRODD

To the north of the busy Mins­mere RSPB re­serve, and within the Suf­folk Coastal Area of Nat­u­ral Beauty, lies a clas­sic East Anglian land­scape pro­vid­ing the birder with the peace and tran­quil­ity typ­i­cally as­so­ci­ated with a large wet­land sys­tem. Din­gle Marshes is man­aged by RSPB and af­forded the rel­e­vant en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tions for its mo­saic of reedbeds, pools, ditches and scrubby mar­gins. The route also bor­ders and bi­sects copses, heath­land, farm­land and a sec­tion of Dun­wich For­est to guar­an­tee a wide range of species along the way. The Din­gle Hills view­point is pop­u­lar with bird­ers on a fine win­ter af­ter­noon for watch­ing hunt­ing rap­tors. Marsh Har­ri­ers and Barn Owls are a given across the marshes with one or two each of Hen Har­rier and Short- eared Owl, while Buz­zards should be checked for the chance of a Rough-legged. Red Kite and Goshawk are also in­creas­ingly be­ing seen around the wooded mar­gins and oc­ca­sion­ally a Great Grey Shrike win­ters. In the wood­land sec­tion, Cross­bills are likely and maybe a flock of win­ter­ing Hawfinches, while Ot­ters are reg­u­larly re­ported along the wa­ter­course and Roe Deer on sur­round­ing farm­land. Scan­ning across the wet­lands from Din­gle Hills to­wards the old wind pump, as the sun dips, pro­vides a fit­ting back­drop to any win­ter bird­ing walk, where har­ri­ers fly­ing to roost of­ten dis­turb a Bit­tern amid the aerial mur­mu­ra­tions of Star­lings swirling over­head be­fore de­scend­ing into the reedbed as one for the night.


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