Tag Archives: Minsmere

Demons Of The Swamp Vol.3

Fans of The Cramps will get the title and if you don’t like The Cramps a. What is wrong with you? b. Why are we friends? Maybe we’re not.

Anyway, a blog post. First in a year? Does anyone still read blogs? If so read on.

Yesterday I went on my first twitch in absolutely ages. What did I twitch? A Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio, some call it Western Swamphen, I still prefer Purple Gallinule. Will it ever be accepted onto the BOU British List? I doubt it but then Chinese Pond Heron made so maybe.

Anyway one arriving at RSPB Minsmere we were soon watching Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station. I mean the Swampmonster.


Sizewell B


Purple Swamphen


Purple Swamphen

After a while of watching the Swampdonkey walk round a pool a sort of purple haze descends on a man and it was time to head off to the visitor centre to buy some china tea cloths or something and a coffee and bacon butty.

Around the centre, as well as the stench of composting toilets, are lots of Buddleia bushes. These attracted a steady stream of insects and a steady stream of photographers.


Migrant Hawker


Migrant Hawker


Migrant Hawker


Peacock & Red Admiral

By now we needed to see more birds and better insects so yomped a whole 300m to look at the Stone Curlew, two adults and a chick. Can’t be too many places you can see Purple Gallinule and Stone Curlew in the same reserve.

Back towards the centre we dipped Pantaloon Bee but scored with the Beewolves and a bonus if somewhat shy Purple Hairstreak.






Purple Hairstreak

We finished our day watching a pair of Honey Buzzard put on a full flight display over Westwood Lodge at Walberswick. The three lifers in the day Brian Moore’s granddaughter Rosie certainly hit a purple patch!

All photos were either iPhonescoped (still or 4K video) or taken using the camera on the iPhone 6S. Stills from video were taken using the StillShot app.





Suffolk Punch

An early start for my first proper twitch of the year. Picking up Dave Gray at 05.10 we met up with The Beast and Neil Hagley at Neil’s. A pretty easy journey down to Minsmere and we were soon parked up and on our way for target bird No1.

The bird in question had gone into cover seconds before our arrival… it was fucking freezing and rain was being blown through on a stiff wind and I’d left my gloves at home. After an hour where I caught a brief view of the Great Grey Shrike on Westleton Heath our target suddenly appeared… ‘hovering.’ Hmmm I thought they don’t usually hover so I was a bit sus until I clocked the spanking Lesser Kestrel as it perched up. Get in!

We grilled the bird as it hunted and perched and ‘hovered’… well it used the wind to float as a hunting technique. I’ve seen plenty of Lessers on my travels but a British bird is always pretty special.

We made a swift exit to Kessingland bouyed by news our next target had shown briefly at 09.00. On arrival the weather was pretty dismal and my hopes weren’t very high. A short wait with a sandwich and it stopped raining and started to brighten up. Soon after we were enjoying crippling views of Pallid Swift. Nice one.

Our next stop provided the only disappointment… no sign of the Alpine Swift in Lowestoft. One bird was reported back at Kessingland, so a quick trip back revealed only the Pallid. At least no one missed anything other than a year tick this time.

Our thanks go to Neil for being a star and doing all the driving. A two tick day…