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Waders and Wildfowl

Waders and Wildfowl
Suffolk coast


Although in winter, at first glance they all look rather similar everyone can separate the various species of wader. Join us to find out more.

Dressed in their grey-brown livery, waders in winter can be difficult to identify and although more colourful, wildfowl can also be a challenge. The British coastline is internationally important as a wintering ground for vast numbers of waders and wildfowl. In recognition of the importance of these two groups, this workshop aims to look closely at all the usual and some of the less usual species.. During this four night break we will be visitng some of the top locations in the area including Minsmere and the Alde and Blythe Estuaries which are very close. We will be covering all the important aspects of identification, including distant birds, silhouettes and those in flight. A combination of watching in the field and indoor re-cap sessions is designed to provide a methodical aid to identification. At the same time, our choice of venue, Satis House, provides the ideal base for an enjoyable and relaxing winter break.

Next date to be announced
4 nights

Four nights dinner bed and breakfast, picnic lunches on three days, transport throughout the event, and the services of the leader.

Travel insurance and items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry and phone calls.

Suffolk coastal sites including Minsmere, walberswick, Alde and Blythe Estuaries.

HOTEL: Satis House Hotel is an 18th Century Grade 1 listed country house, in the village of Yoxford and is perfectly placed for exploration of the Suffolk coastline between Walberswick and Aldburgh. The rooms are very comfortable and well-appointed and Satis House has a reputation for good standards of food. More information on Satis House can be found on www.satishouse.co.uk. The postcode is IP17 3EX.

Day 1
4.00 p.m. onwards. Check in to hotel
6.45 p.m. Reception and introductions in the library.
7.00 p.m. Dinner in the restaurant
8.30 p.m. “Waders and Wildfowl – an Introduction”  Illustrated talk.

Day 2
8.00 a.m. Breakfast
9.00 a.m. Today we will explore the River Blythe. Extensive mudfdlats near the Blythburgh bridge are some of the finest in the country and provide an  ideal opportunity to view a variety if waders including Dunlin, Curlew, Redshank, Greenshank, Grey Plover and both Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwits. These are joined by Brent Geese, Shelduck, Goldeneye and Red-breasted Merganser.
As we are very close to Walberwick we will enjoy the late afternoon over the extensive reedbeds which are particularly attractive to a range of  hunting raptors.
5.00 Return to hotel
7.00 p.m. Dinner in restaurant
8.30 p.m. Review of days sightings plus a session on wildfowl i.d.

Day 3
8.00 a.m. Breakfast
9.00 a.m. Depart for Minsmere. This is without a doubt one of the finest reserves in the country with woodland, scrapes, heathland and reedbeds all providing a wealth of birdwatching experiences. Wildfowl and waders plus speciality reedbed species such as Bittern and Bearded Tit are readily viewable from the excellent network of hides and trails. As well as freshwater birds the reserve borders onto the Suffolk coast where sea-watching can turn up a range of interesting sightings.
7.00 p.m. Dinner in restaurant
8.30 p.m. Review of days sightings plus a session on wader i.d.

Day 4
8.00a.m. Breakfast
9.00 a.m. Depart
Our final day will take us further south to the Alde Estuary. This is once again an extremely good site for wintering wildfowl and waders and because it is not too big this makes for closer viewing. The estuary almost reaches the sea at Aldburgh where we will be looking out for sea-ducks such as Long-tailed Duck and scoters.
7.00 p.m. Dinner in restaurant
8.30 p.m. Interactive session on identification of waders and wildfowl with a focus on confusion species.

Day 5
8.00a.m. Breakfast
9.00 a.m. Depart for home

If you are a member of RSPB and/or the Suffolk Wildlife trust please bring your membership cards

Subject to weather, this workshop will be undertaken outdoors in order to make the most of the fabulous area. However, a certain amount of flexibility has been built in to undertake indoor sessions if necessary.

Much of the time will be spent exploring the variety of habitats in this area on foot rather than in the minibus. As much as possible walks will be relatively short, on well-trodden paths with gentle gradients.

TRANSPORT: 17-seater minibus with plenty of spare room.

The price includes four nights dinner bed and breakfast, three picnic lunches, transport throughout the event and the services of the leader. A £100 non-refundable deposit per person is required at the point of booking, the balance being due 2 months before the event.  This price does not include personal insurance. The group size will be limited to a maximum of 12.

Keith Offord

01691 718740
01691 718740