Reports, with Bird Lists, of our Meetings, Walks and Outings

RSPB Minsmere 2018
Sunday COACH trip

Date: Sunday 4 February 2018 at 07:00


Thirty-three of us set off early, on a cold and breezy Sunday morning. The driver thought that we were going to Dungeness but was persuaded to take us to Minsmere!

With ample notice from Brian Clews, we were able to view the huge gathering of ring-necked parakeets as our coach drove along the M4, past the parakeets at Slough sewage works.

We arrived a little later than usual at Minsmere, having sat out some time on the narrow A12, waiting for an abnormally wide nuclear load to squeeze passed us going the other way. Fortunately this meant the showers had passed by the time we got off the bus.

It was cold and a gusty northeast wind gave the beach a particularly wintry feel, but we were delighted to find flocks of snow buntings working their way up and down.

The scrapes were relatively sparsely populated, with waders very scarce, although there were good sightings of pintail and whooper swans amongst other waterfowl.

Further round a pair of bearded tits were feeding on the ground, close to the path near South Hide. We got extremely good views of this species which we had really not expected to show well given the conditions. 

Bitterns were thin on the ground - some of our group had sightings from the Bittern Hide.

Marsh harriers were in evidence, particularly from Island Mere.  Towards the end of the day some had the excitement of a barn owl quartering and perching close to North Hide.

We lingered at the end of our day in the hope of seeing the reported starling murmuration but unfortunately had to leave before it started.

In conclusion, a good day of birding was had by the group with some good sunshine at times, nice surprises and with over 60 species being reported.

Click Here to see our photos from the visit

Minsmere RSPB, 4/2/2018, cold, windy, sunny periods

Mute Swan

Whooper Swan

Greylag Goose








Tufted Duck

Common Scoter




Little Egret

Grey Heron

Little Grebe

Marsh Harrier


Common Buzzard

Water Rail







Black-headed Gull

Common Gull

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Herring Gull

Great Black-backed Gull

Stock Dove

Wood Pigeon

Collared Dove

Barn Owl

Green Woodpecker



Ring-necked parakeet



Carrion Crow


Blue Tit

Great Tit

Coal Tit

Willow Tit

Marsh Tit

Bearded Tit

Long-tailed Tit










House Sparrow

Pied Wagtail

Meadow Pipit




Snow Bunting

68 Bird Species seen

Other Wildlife

Red deer

Muntjac Deer

Grey Squirrel


33 People

---- Original Programme Information ----


The flagship RSPB reserve on the Suffolk coast for bearded tit, wildfowl and waders.

Habitats include heath, reed bed, scrape, shingle beach with sea-watching, shallow pools and woodland. A complete circuit of the reserve is around three miles - add another mile and a half if you also visit Dunwich Heath, via the beach.

On our visit in February 2014, we noted 61 species. Less common birds included barnacle goose, pintail, goldeneye, smew, red-throated diver, bittern, marsh harrier, sparrowhawk, grey plover, curlew, coal tit, marsh tit, stonechat and siskin.

Having enjoyed a September visit in 2015, this coach trip is a winter visit.

Entry to the visitor centre is free for all. The trails and hides are free for RSPB members - please remember to bring your membership card. Non-member adults £9, children (under 19) £5, concessions £6. Family ticket (two adults and a child) £18.

Facilities include -

  • Visitor centre
  • Information centre
  • Toilets
  • Tearoom serving hot and cold drinks, hot and cold meals, snacks and sweets
  • Shop selling optics, books, clothing, gifts, bird food and feeders
  • Picnic area
  • Binocular hire
  • Guided walks available
  • Seven hides, three signposted trails (level, can be muddy)

Click here for more information about Minsmere RSPB reserve

Coach trip details -

  • Full payment of £20.00 is required on booking. For under 16s the full cost is only £10.00. All money will be refunded if the trip is cancelled.
  • For bookings and any other details, email Helen Pearson , or call Helen on 01628 639648 and leave a voicemail, or see Helen at a meeting. Please book at least one week in advance, preferably much earlier.
  • The coach leaves promptly at 7.00 am from the lay-by in front of the entrance to Braywick Park (Braywick Sports Ground), Braywick Road, Maidenhead, SL6 1DX. There is a free car park inside the park. Please arrive in good time.
  • Consider bringing a packed lunch and any drinks or snacks that you may require.
  • This coach trip involves a journey time of about three and a half hours each way, including comfort stop.
  • The coach has room for large items such as telescopes, tripods, hampers and camera bags.