Knowing that the weather forecast for today (Saturday) was awful we ventured out yesterday while we could. And what better place than the marvellous Carlton Marshes? I even lured Belinda back there with the promise of their cafe goodies!
There was method to my madness of course and despite Matt the warden warning me they were moving their flock of Belted Galloway cattle onto Peto's Marsh I was pleased they didn't disturb anything. And by 'anything' I mean the Buff-breasted Sandpiper which I quickly located amongst a loose flock of 24 Ringed Plovers and 5 Dunlin. It was distant but scope views were more than adequate and very welcome as it's a species I've not seen for a long time. A quick scan also revealed a lovely Curlew Sandpiper moulting into it's breeding finery and 6 Chinese Water Deer that Belinda was more interested in. We continued our walk to do the whole loop via Share Marsh and scooped with a very active adult Spoonbill en-route plus 3 Willow Warblers and a distant calling Cuckoo. We then chilled with a coffee and some lunch from the cafe - I had to keep my promise!
We spent the remainder of the afternoon in Reydon Woods near Southwold. Here the Bluebells were looking marvellous and I also found a single Early Purple Orchid and a hitherto unnoticed new plant for me Wavy Bittercress. A Garden Warbler and Large Red Damselfly were also my first of the year but the best sighting by far was c3 Great Crested Newts plus several Smooth Newts showing beautifully in the pond. Just a shame I only had my phone camera with me. The same pond was also chock full of Water Violets. We then had to bid a hasty retreat, getting soaked in a prolonged hail shower!
As we were passing on the way home it would have been amiss not to pop into Winks Meadow. Here the Green-winged Orchids are now out in their full splendour. As always there is a good variety of colours including 5 full white 'alba' specimens.