On Saturday we stayed fairly local, just visiting Chippenhall Green near Fressingfield. This is one of the ancient meadow sites for Green-winged Orchids and a good wander all over the green revealed loads as usual. There were quite a few that were going over and/or showing signs of frost damage but the variety was pretty good. Not quite the marvellous variety we get at nearby Winks Meadow but after a lot of searching I did find one pure 'alba' specimen. While Belinda was occupied by the local grazing horses I walked around and was delighted to find 2 singing Turtle Doves, one of which I managed to get a view of. Yellowhammer and Common Whitethroat were also in song. We returned to the car to find our way blocked by the over-friendly horses. It took a while to usher them away while one was enjoying scratching its arse on our wing mirror!
On the way back we stopped for a walk at Weybread, concentrating on the south west area behind Wharton's nursery. A Reed Warbler (yeartick) was singing beside Kingfisher Pit and a patch tick Red Kite glided over mobbed by the local Oystercatchers. New plants id'd there included Rough Chervil, Field Madder, White Bryony, Wild Cherry and Hounds-tongue.
Sunday dawned bright so we decided to head for the coast to actually see the sea for the first time for a long time! We took a packed lunch and did a long walk through Dunwich Forest, over Dingle Hill to the beach and then back through the middle of Westwood Marshes. It felt so good to be on the coast again - helped almost immediately we left the car with a showy singing Firerest in Dunwich Forest. The whole was gave me a few new birds for the year - 2 Sandwich Terns, Sand Martins and Sedge Warblers plus c4 Cetti's Warblers, a couple of Reed Warblers, Garden Warbler, numerous pinging Bearded Tits and a fantastic Hobby hawking over the reedbed. To top it off, at the end of the walk a Nightingale sang briefly twice and another 2 Firecrests were singing strongly. A pond in the forest held a male Broad-bodied Chaser, Large Red Damselflies and Hairy Dragonfly. The latter proved to be out in good numbers on the marshes later in the walk. There was plenty of botanical interest too with Three-nerved Sandwort, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, White Ramping Fumitory, Danish Scurvy-grass, Meadow Horsetail, Birdsfoot Trefoil and Sea Kale in flower plus Sea Pea, Yellow-horned Poppy and Beet yet to come.