Flylady Photography by Wendy Cooper

Take a walk with me...

Trip Reports > Take a walk with me...
19/07/2015 - 18:09

We recently had a few days in Suffolk and one morning, I did something I'd been promising myself for a very long time, to get up early and go for a wander on Dingle Marsh, which is just across from where we stay.  


Dingle Marsh is just along the coast from RSPB Minsmere and is an important site for breeding and wintering wildfowl and waders.  It is one of the largest freshwater reedbeds in the country and is managed by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, the RSPB and Natural England. 


So join me early one morning, shortly after the sun has risen.  It is warm, sunny, there is a gentle breeze and the sound of the sea against the shingle on the beach and hints of birdsong as we walk to the marsh...

Sunrise from Dunwich Beach

We wander along the little lane down to the marsh and are greeted by the morning Wren, high up in a tree and serenading the sun, which had risen out over the sea.  

The Morning Wren

On reaching the marsh, as we walk alongside the reedbeds we can hear Sedge warblers trilling and whistling from within the reeds.  Keeping a hopeful eye on the taller reeds and vegetation, as usually they are heard singing from down amongst the reeds, we spot one perched on a hogweed stem, enjoying the sunshine and watching us with some degree of curiosity.

 Sedge Warbler

Just along from the warbler, we see a juvenile Sparrow, also perched above the reeds and wondering why there are people at this time in the morning!

Juvenile Sparrow, notice the yellow 'gape'.

As we wander along, occasionally we see butterflies, fluttering, then settling low down in the vegetation to nectar on the birdsfoot trefoil which grows here and there.  We manage to see two of them for slightly closer views, a female Meadow Brown and a Grayling.

Female Meadow Brown




A new song is now mixing with the Sedge Warblers', coming from across the reedbed, sitting atop the reeds, some way off, we see a very smart male Reed Bunting.

Male Reed Bunting


Further along, we are treated to the sight of a bold Sedge warbler, who then proceeds to serenade us for a few minutes before flying off.

Sedge Warbler in full song.

As we turn to try and see where he went, we see a graceful Little Egret, flying across to one of the lagoons, to hunt for breakfast

Little Egret

Being choosy about where he wishes to dine, we get quite a flyby!

We wander back nearer to the reedbeds and start to look at the lagoons to see where he has landed, it must be behind some of the reeds, as he is nowhere to be seen.  Here and there through the reedbeds are posts, which many of the birds use to perch on and survey the area, as was this Black Headed Gull.

Black Headed Gull


Whilst watching him, from behind us, coming in from the beach, we hear the 'peep peep' of Oyster Catchers, sure enough, a moment later we see a pair flying low across the reedbeds towards one of the lagoons back towards the village.

Oyster Catcher pair coming in from the beach.

Wherever they have settled, the Little Egret seems to take umbrage and crosses over to a distant lagoon.

We walk further along the marsh, trying to avoid making too much noise on the shingly parts, as we are approaching a part that appears to be frequented by Skylarks.  The air is full of the sound of their song and we can see three or four, up high, singing away, before gliding down into the grasses by the reeds or the back of the shingle bank.  

Skylark, pausing before descent

Safely down!

Standing quietly we watch as the skylark chooses a perch on one of the low gorse bushes, where he proceeds to to sing to all who will listen, it is beautiful with a backgound chorus from the warblers in the distance and the sound of the waves rattling the shingle on the beach behind us.  

After a moment, he looks at us, crest raised and continues to sing,

before flitting to the top of another bush where he continues his serenade.


Noticing the time - it's getting towards breakfast, we turn back, walking along the edge of the reeds and peering into the lagoons.  

Another gull is perched, but shyly, from behind one of the islands, we can see a long red bill and little red eye watching us; it is one of the Oyster Catchers from earlier!


 Gull and Oyster Catcher

Pausing for a moment, we think we can see some movement low in the grass, sure enough, a second Oyster Catcher appears, looking for breakfast.


After wading around a little, both birds notice that they have an audience and stand for a moment gazing back at us.

 We leave them to go about their business and head back for breakfast, with the warblers still warbling and the Skylarks still singing overhead.  What better way to start the day?

If you wish to visit Dingle Marsh, there are details here:  


It is beautiful at anytime of the year and there is always something to see. I've regularly walked on the seaward side, but the 'landward' side is still awaiting exploration!


The full series of images from my walk are here in the 'Early Morning Walk on Dingle Marsh' album over on Flickr :



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Sue Pownall
01/08/2015 - 11:24
Fabulous photos and description wendy.
01/08/2015 - 15:55
Beautiful again Wendy. I Love the oyster catchers, and would love to wander through the marshes there!

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