A Long Weekend in the Suffolk Sandlings, 14 - 16 October 2022

A 3 day/2 night break in our trusty motorhome before the clocks change and we are plunged into dark nights! We camped 'off-grid' at Slaughden (Aldeburgh) the first night and in Tunstall Forest the second night.

A long walk on the Friday took us from Slaughden to Thorpeness and back via the old railway line across North Warren. It's hard to call it a 'highlight' but [5 Wood Duck] (1 drake) in one of the Thorpeness Mere outflow streams was rather plastic fantastic! Other sightings included a huge clump of Pampas-grass at least 12 feet high in the middle of North Warren plus Russian Vine, Tansy, Sea Beet, Perennial Wall Rocket, White Melilot, Sea Saltwort, Spear-leaved Orache and Bullace (Prunus domestica intistitia). The latter only identifiable from Cherry-plum at this time of year when the fruits have a distinctive white bloom and flesh. Insects included the hoverfly Bacca elongata and the harvestman Phalangium opilio. Plenty of Deathcaps were lurking along the path on North Warren plus the fungi Macrolepiota konradii and Bay Polypore.

                                                                                                                                 Wood Duck

                                                                                                                                White Melilot
                                                                                                                              Perennial Wall Rocket
                                                                                                                                      Bay Polypore
                                                                                                                           Macrolepiota konradii
                                                                                                                                  Phalangium opilio
                                                                                                                              Baccha elongata
                                                                                                                          Russian Vine

Saturday saw us relocate and embark on another long walk taking in Blaxhall Common and Tunstall Forest. Point blank views of a sub-singing 1w male Dartford Warbler was the furthest I've seen one from the coastal strip in Suffolk. A Minotaur Beetle was spotted by Belinda on the path and in Blaxhall village I found some 'naturalised' Beiberstein's Crocus - a strange but lovely sight. Bladder Campion, Wild Radish, Vervain and Common Toadflax were the best of the rest. The pine woods were full of False Chanterelles and Parasols with Brown Mottlegill also recorded.

                                                                                                                             Minotaur Beetle
                                                                                                                       Common Toadflax


                                                                                                                           False Chanterelle

                                                                                                                       Brown Mottlegill

Fungi were to the fore again on Sunday with another stroll in Tunstall Forest with Bluefoot Bolete, Aniseed Funnel, Clouded Funnel and Rosy Bonnet added. It was great to find a clump of flowering Orpine whilst at Orford earlier I had a particularly black Small Copper and Duke of Argyll's Teaplant still in flower. A Raven west over the SE section of the forest was also most welcome.

                                                                                                                             Small Copper
                                                                                                                      Duke of Argyll's Teaplant

                                                                                                                                 Aniseed Funnel
                                                                                                                                   Rosy Bonnet
                                                                                                                           Bluefoot Bolete

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