Posted by: digibirder | May 11, 2008

Here comes the sun

It seems that summer is almost here. After our weekend trip to Suffolk a couple of weeks ago, where we met up with a few friends for a visit to RSPB Minsmere, we decided to have another visit last weekend, as the forecast was good, this time taking the trailer tent and spending a few days camping. It turned out to be a very good weekend. We set off early on Saturday morning, stopping off at Cambridge Services for a short break and a cuppa.

En route with kitchen opened out to make a cup of tea (Nokia 6288 mobile phone).

We wanted to camp at a site near Dunwich, but it was full so we had to go to one near Sizewell. The campsite was just along the coast from the power station, but not overshadowed by it. The site itself was quite pleasant, but the facilities were a little basic. There was a 20p charge for the showers, which only just lasted long enough to wash everywhere, and there were only small hand-wash sinks along one wall of the toilet block – no separate wash cubicles for privacy to wash if you didn’t want a shower. We arrived at the site mid-afternoon and after booking in we found a lovely spot and we were soon pitched, as the trailer tent is very easy to erect, a far cry from the 3 hours it used to take with the large tent.

The kitchen all set up on site (Nokia 6288 mobile phone).

After setting up, we drove into Leiston to get some provisions, then came back to relax on site and have something to eat (and a nice bottle of red!). Even thought it was pleasant during the day, it was still pretty cold at night, so we were glad of our new gas heater. We were also quite pleased with our new electric fridge, which you can just see at the right side of the above photo. We usually have electric hook-up rather than faffing about with cool-packs, but our previous fridge was getting old and had become even noisier than it had been at first. We always had to unplug it at night, so as not to wake the whole site! We bought the new one, a Waeco, just after our final camping trip of last year, so this was its first outing. We plugged it in and wondered if it was working, it was that quiet!

On Sunday, we headed up to Minsmere and spent a very productive day there, as we had done the week before. This time I decided to get my camera out – I didn’t bother carrying it round on the previous visit, and regretted it due to the very good views that were had of a Bittern out in the open. This time there was only a fleeting glance of one flying so no photo opportunity there, but I did manage to get some shots of other birds and animals. I found the tripod a little awkward to manage each time I wanted to take a photo, so I had to rely on hand-held shots, but most of them were not that successful. I would have been better with a monopod, but that was left at home!

View over the reedbed from one of the hides – Sizewell power station in the distance (Canon 10D + Sigma 10-20mm).

Muntjac deer (Canon 10D + Sigma 135-400mm).

Cetti’s Warbler (pretty pleased with this one) (Canon 10D + Sigma 135-400mm).

Barn Swallow by the sluice (Canon 10D + Sigma 135-400mm).

Same bird from the front. He was really posing and not bothered by all the people wandering past (Canon 10D + Sigma 135-400mm).

Konik mare and foal (Canon 10D + Sigma 18-50mm).

The following day (Monday) we went to Dunwich Heath. The main reason was to see if we could see any Dartford Warblers. We arrived early before the crowds appeared, and had a lovely walk over the heath and through the woodland. Eventually we saw some Dartford Warblers, but they were a little too mobile to get a shot of one. We also saw Stonechat, Whitethroat and Woodlark.

View from Dunwich car park over Minsmere reserve (Canon 10D + Sigma 10-20mm).

Almost stepped on this Adder as we were walking over the heath (Canon 10D + Sigma 135-400mm).

One of a herd of Red Deer that were running around in a panic when they realised they were surrounded by people (Canon 10D + Sigma 135-400mm).

After our walk we went back to the Coastguard Cottages, which houses the National Trust tearoom, for a cup of tea and a piece of cake, before driving back to the site.

On Tuesday morning we awoke early, so before starting to pack up to come home we decided to have a wander down onto Sizewell beach and along to the village in the direction of the power station.

Looking south back towards the campsite – white house is the camp pub/shop (Canon 10D + Sigma 10-20mm).

Looking north towards the power station. There were quite a few rusting wheels scattered on the beach, remnants of a busy seafaring past (Canon 10D + Sigma 10-20mm).

Another artsy shot of a rusting wheel (Canon 10D + Sigma 10-20mm).

Seen better days! (Canon 10D + Sigma 10-20mm).

We then walked back towards the campsite but continued a short way in the other direction where we passed the grounds of Sizewell Hall, now a Christian Conference Centre. A little way along the coastal path we walked through a tunnel where I thought this long-neglected gate would make an interesting shot. Obviously, this was at one time used by the occupants of the hall to come down to the beach.

We then headed back to the site to start packing away ready for the journey home. On the way back we stopped off at Blatherwycke Lake to see if we could see any Red Kites. Sure enough, there were several flying around, but I couldn’t get any shots as they were against the sun. We drove on, stopping at a pub for something to eat, and arriving home at about 9.30pm. After storing the trailer in the garage and removing the roofbox from the car, we unpacked the car, leaving most things in the hallway, had a shower and crawled into bed, tired but happy at having had a wonderful weekend. Roll on the next holiday!



  1. Hi DB – a picture of a Cetti’s Warbler! – well done you – glad it was a good tip again:)

    Lovely pics especially the rusting wheel.

  2. nice pics Di. fair bit of lens changing!!

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