Friday (New Year’s Day) 1st January 2016

WBC will start 2016 by taking part in the “Lizardland Challenge” and locate as many species as possible in the Lothingland area in limited daylight hours. Again we will allow for hangovers and have two starting points: those who just can’t wait for the first beams of 2016 daylight should meet Steve Howell in the Rugby Club car park on the south side of Breydon Water 8 a.m. We’ll scan Breydon’s south shore before moving on to Normanston Park (Leathes Ham) where we’ll take a picnic lunch of Christmas left overs and be joined by those struggling to recover from NYE’s celebrations at around 1 p.m. Hamilton Dock and The Denes are likely venues for the afternoon session but, as in 2015, our itinerary may vary depending on the bird’s present. If you struggle to locate the group, please ring Steve Howell.

Leaders: Steve Howell (Mobile 07896 379901)
Meet: Rugby Club carpark on south side of Breydon Water or Normanston Park car park (off Peto’s Way) for afternoon session
Times: 8 a.m. or 1.00 p.m. (please indicate your preferred start point at the time of booking)

Monday 18th January 2016

Club President and Chairman, Steve Piotrowski, has been studying gulls on Orford Ness since they started breeding there in the 1960s and has monitored their migration from Suffolk breeding sites to their wintering grounds in Iberia and West Africa, regularly visiting countries such as Portugal, Spain and Morocco with other WBC members to read colour rings. Steve will detail the changes in the gull’s habits from nesting in natural habitats to roofs in urban areas, where they are regarded very much as a nuisance. He will highlight the sometimes hilarious deterrents being employed and the media frenzy about gull attacks that has taken place in recent years. This will be a much-expanded and updated version of the presentation that Steve delivered at the Bird Fair in 2013.

Venue: The Maltings Pavilion, Pirnhow Street, Ditchingham, NR35 2RU
Time: 7.30 p.m.

Saturday 6th February 2016

Boyton and Hollesley Marshes are two coastal reserves in the lower reaches of the Alde-Ore Estuary.

Both are coastal grazing marshes with shallow pools and flood during the winter. They are important for a variety of breeding wading birds and wintering ducks and geese, as well as many grassland insects and flowers. They’re also great for watching birds of prey and owls.

Boyton Marshes sits alongside the Butley River, from which it is separated by saltmarsh. The river and adjacent Alde-Ore Estuary attract large flocks of wading birds. The grazing marshes and shallow pools at both sites host breeding lapwings and wintering avocets and are good places to look for kingfishers.

Snape is an exciting area of nature reserves managed by RSPB and SWT. It includes a wetland area where new reedbeds and freshwater marshes are being created to benefit wildlife such as otters, water voles, kingfishers, bitterns, marsh harriers and dragonflies. Access to the Snape marshlands is currently restricted to guided walks only.

Leaders: David Fairhurst and Steve Piotrowski
Meet: Carpark alongside the prison
Time: 09.00 a.m.

Sunday 14th February 2016

WBC will celebrate National Nest Box week by cleaning out nest boxes at Heveningham Hall. Over 70 Barn Owl boxes and 2,000 small nest boxes have been fixed in the Estate’s woodlands. The Estate’s owners, Jon and Lois Hunt, make an annual donation to WBC’s BAP fund in exchange for the club maintaining these boxes. Again, we are hopeful that local scout groups will be able to help, but adults will be needed to assist, so this is a chance for WBC members to introduce youngsters into conservation and a unique opportunity to enjoy a walk around the estate. Depending on numbers we split into teams to cover the boxes and meet up at lunchtime for some hot soup and bread rolls and a quick review of our findings. More hands make lighter work, so please make every effort to attend. Please wear boots and protective clothing as it could be cold and wet!

Leaders: Steve Piotrowski and Chris McIntyre
Meet: Heveningham Hall at 9.00 a.m. (further details are available from Kathy)

Monday 22nd February 2016

A team representing BTO have a firm grip of the coveted Waveney Bird Brian Challenge trophy which they have held for the past two years. Can this be wrestled from their grasp? The BTO team will again face some tough opposition in the form of RSPB Minsmere, BINS and of course WBC’s home stars. The teams will be strictly controlled by Quizmaster, Chris McIntyre. Audience banter and participation will be actively encouraged and there will also be a special prize for the most knowledgeable spectator! Please come along to barrack/support your team! Supper will be included

Venue: The Maltings Pavilion, Pirnhow Street, Ditchingham, NR35 2RU
Time: 7 p.m. (please note early start)

Monday 21st March 2016

Steve Piotrowski will preside over the AGM and, once formal business has been completed, Andrew Green will provide a review of the year with particular emphasis on the Waveney Valley and Chris McIntyre an update on the work by the Ringing Team in 2015. Supper will be served at the interval and will be followed by a talk by Steve Piotrowski on his experiences during his amazing 2015 tour of China with particular emphasis on Tibet. An exhibition of Jon Evans’s photography work will also be on display.

Venue: The Maltings Pavilion, Pirnhow Street, Ditchingham, NR35 2RU
Time: 7.30 p.m.

Good Friday 25th March 2016

At the kind invitation of The Earl and Countess Ferris, WBC’s dawn chorus outing repeat a circular 3-mile walk around the Ditchingham Estate that proved so popular in recent years. The walk will culminate at The Beater’s Retreat where we will be treated to a bacon sandwich or traditional hot-cross buns, teas and coffees. Further details will be given at time of booking.

Leaders: Steve Piotrowski and Paddy Shaw
Meet: The Beaters Retreat, Ditchingham,
Time: 07.00 hrs
Cost: £5/person – all proceeds going to Heddenham Church

Sunday 3rd April 2016

There are few better localities for spring birdwatching in East Anglia than the Norfolk and Suffolk brecks.

Following on from the success of previous years, we shall start with a dawn-chorus circular walk at Santon Downham covering a variety of habitats. Crossbills, Firecrests and Woodlarks are all good possibilities as well as a few early summer arrivals. This area is also one of East Anglia’s few remaining sites for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, so we will need to keep our eyes peeled. Goshawks often display at this time of year, so weather permitting, we shall go to a nearby secret watch-point to see if we can find views. We will take a picnic lunch at Lackford Lakes Reserve Centre followed by a tour of this wonderful site. As the light fades in the late afternoon we will finish our day at Cavenham Heath where we will look for Stone Curlews, Wheatears and other Breckland specialities.

Leaders: Andrew Green and Steve Howell
Meet: Meet at St Helens Picnic Site at Santon Downham
Time: 7 a.m.

Sunday 17th April 2016

We should be past the “Mad March Hare” time, but these enduring creatures will be still extremely active and there’s no better place than on Havergate Island to watch them at close quarters. This small island in the River Ore and is famous for its breeding avocets and terns, which can usually be seen at this time of year. Your leaders Jon and Sue have been studying and photographing Brown Hares, not only on Havergate but throughout the country for several years, so bring your camera. Spring migration should be well underway, so there a good chance of a surprise or two!

Leaders: Jon Evans and Sue Alderman
Meet: Meet at Orford Quay at 9 a.m.
Cost: £10 for boat fee

Wednesday 27th April 2016

Outney Common is a prime wildlife site and hosts a good selection of summer migrants in spring. In recent years, Nightingales have held territories in an area of scrub close to the river and they should be in full song during our visit. Several pairs of Willow Warblers hold territories and Kingfishers and Barn Owls are regularly seen. The two-hour walk will finish at the Green Dragon PH for those who wish for further socialising and birdy talk.

Leader: Paddy Shaw and Steve Piot
Meet: Waveney Golf Course car park
Time: 6 p.m. onwards

Monday-Sunday 2nd-15th May 2016

This is undoubtedly WBC’s most adventurous foreign tour yet. We plan to explore the Caucasus Mountains for high altitude birds such as Caucasian and Caspian Snowcock, Caucasian Black Grouse and many more.

Leaders: Steve Piotrowski and Paul Harvey

Friday 20th May 2016

Hen Reedbeds lies at the head of a tributary to the Blyth estuary and is a blend of reedbeds, fens, dykes and pools. It was created by SWT in 1999 to provide a new breeding habitat for bittern and other wildlife.

Bitterns, Marsh Harriers and Bearded Tits have already taken up residence and it is one of Suffolk’s best birdwatching sites. We will finish the evening with a recap of the evening at the Randolph Hotel in Reydon.

Leaders: Alan Miller (Reserve Manager) and Paddy Shaw
Meet: Hen Reedbed car park
Time: 6 p.m. onwards

Wednesday 22nd June 2016

A rare and precious habitat that is also quiet and serene, wild and dramatic. Dunwich Heath is home to special species such as the Dartford Warbler, Nightjar, Woodlark, ant-lion, glowworms, adders and much more. This will be an inspiring mid-summer visit, made even more exciting by the specialist species that we may encounter. The target for this evening walk will be the mysterious and frequently unseen Nightjar that breeds on Dunwich Heath. The Nightjar normally arrives in Suffolk in late April, but most typically in May, the first sign of their return is the eerie ‘churring’ song given by the male from a perch within its territory. Nightjars will be in the peak of their breeding season by late-June and an early-evening start will give us the chance to search for other species as we wait for the appearance of Nightjars as dusk approaches.

Leaders: Richard Gilbert (National Trust)
Venue: Park in Dunwich Heath car park (free parking) and meet at Coastguard Cottages Tearooms for tea & scone (kindly supplied by The National Trust) at 6.00pm for walk starting at 6.30pm.

Thursday 7 – Sunday 10 July

This is a tour that will take in sites in the Lake District as well as those that surround Morecambe Bay.  We have booked three nights full board at Castle Head Field Centre and will visit RSPB Leighton Moss, Arnside Knott (for High Brown Fritillary butterflies) and the Cumbia Wildlife Trust reserve where Ospreys nest annually.  The FSC centre lies in its own extensive grounds between the southern fells of the Lake District and the shores of Morecambe Bay.  We will travel from Suffolk by minibus at 5.00 a.m. on the Thursday and have as many pick-up points en route as possible.  Please register your interest as early as possible. Cost and further details will be provided by Kathy in due course.  Places will be reserved on a first-come-first served basis.

Leaders: Jon Evans and Steve Piotrowski

Friday 8th July 2016

WBC plays an important role in the monitoring of Barn Owl nest boxes in the Waveney catchment area as part of the Suffolk Community Barn Owl Project. A considerable amount of knowledge is gained by ringing the chicks, which helps us protect and conserve the species, so wherever possible the chicks are ringed. Rob and Helen Gooderham have their own box that host Barn Owls annually and chicks have fledged in the past four years. Rob and Helen have agreed to host an evening at which members can witness the chicks being ringed, weighed and measured. Last year, the Gooderham’s Barn Owls wouldn’t nest in accordance with our programme, so the event had to be cancelled! We’re hoping for better luck this year. Refreshments will be provided.

Leaders: Steve Piotrowski, Rob and Helen Gooderham
Venue: Meet at Linstead Parva at 7.30 p.m. (exact meeting place to be confirmed at time of booking – date and venue may change depending on progress of the chicks).
Cost: £5 – all proceeds to the Suffolk Community Barn Owl Project

Thursday 28th July 2016

The birding potential of Minsmere Scrape is known to us all but, in August, it often really comes to life as the evening gulls and waders arrive to roost. Gull watching can be unpredictable as roosts often depend on weather conditions, water levels and the amount of disturbance during the preceding week. However, scanning the gull roost can be very rewarding with scarce birds such as Yellow-legged and Caspian Gulls being seen. Join local gull expert John Grant who will take you through the identification features of each species. If the gulls fail to appear, then we are in the peak passage period for autumn waders, so we can’t lose! The evening will be concluded at the Eelsfoot PH, in Eastbridge, when the highlights of the evening can be discussed. Thursdays is “folk evening” at The Foot and the band often includes WBC member and talented musician John Garbutt who is open to requests. However, he has categorically stated that he won’t sing the “Birdy Song” no matter how much we offer to pay him!

Leaders: John Grant and Steve Piotrowski
Venue: RSPB Minsmere car park at 5.30 p.m.

Every Thursday from 28th July to 1st September 2016 (from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m)

For the seventh successive year, WBC is delighted again to have been asked to take a key role at RSPB’s prestigious family events. WBC ringers will be present at the Discovery Centre to give ringing demonstrations and explain the wonders of migration to the many visitors young and old. The events will take place every Thursday throughout the school holiday period. If members have any free time to help with setting up, cutting net lanes or helping with children’s activities then please get in touch with Kathy.

Children’s activities sponsored by Viking Optical.

Leaders: Steve and Kathy Piotrowski, Chris McIntyre and Carl Powell
Venue: RSPB Minsmere Discovery Centre for ringers from 7.00 a.m. and helpers from 9.30 a.m.

Sunday 7th August 2016

Following the outstanding success WBC’s BioBlitz in 2014 and 2015 at Heveningham Hall, the owners (Jon and Lois Hunt) have requested a further event. The day will start of by collating moths from traps fixed the previous evening, which is followed by breakfast. We will then split up into two or three biologically-focused recording groups looking at plants, insects, mammals and birds. We break for lunch and a catch up on what’s been found so far and then continue with an afternoon session. Experts will be on hand to help with identification.

Leaders: Matthew Dean, Dorothy Cheney, Steve and Mark Piotrowski
Venue: Heveningham Hall
Time: 8.00 a.m.

Wednesday 10th August 2016

The evening will start with a fish and chip tea on Aldeburgh beach before moving onto the car park at the start of the Sailors’ Path. Hazelwood Marshes was decimated by the December 2013 tidal surge, resulting in a change from a freshwater to estuarine habitat. The path is approximately six miles long leading through open heaths, extensive woodlands and marshy meadows to Snape and is one of Suffolk’s most delightful and popular walks and a great venue for birdwatchers. We only intend to walk one way, from Aldeburgh towards Snape, so the leaders will organise car parking so we have vehicles both ends.

Leaders: Steve Piotrowski and Chris McIntyre
Time: 5 pm for tea on the beach and 6.30 pm for Sailors Path walk only

Friday to Sunday 9th-11th September 2016

In 2016, Spurn Bird Observatory will celebrate its fourth migration festival and the event is fast becoming a not-to-be-missed occasion. The excitement of the weekend can be summed up from an extract from “Birding Dad’s” blog: “Bonkers to think that the third Spurn Mig Fest has been and gone! A cracking weekend with some great seawatching on Saturday morning, including my first Yorkshire Cory’s Shearwater, which flapped north dwarfing two accompanying Sooties, at least five Long-tailed Skuas, c.50 Sooty Shearwaters, etc. A few cool land birds were seen around Spurn during the weekend including Red-backed Shrike in the Corner Field, a Barred Warbler picked up dropping in over the Westmere Farm barn into a hedge, several Pied Flys, Whinchats, Peregrines, etc.”

WBC will provide a coach to ferry people to and from Spurn leaving from various pick up points in NE Suffolk from 7.30 a.m. onwards on the Friday morning. Accommodation at a nearby Travel Lodge will be booked.

Leaders: Jon Evans and Steve Howell

Sunday 25th September 2016

North Norfolk is dubbed the birdwatching capital of Britain, although a few of us Suffolk stalwarts may have something to say about that statement! WBC members will meet at Cley NNT Visitor Centre Car Park and bird the area until late morning. We will then take the seal boat from Morston Quay to view the seals and spend time ashore to look for migrant birds on the point. Those feeling energetic may wish to walk the length of Blakeney Point back to Cley. Others will take the return boat trip back to Morston Quay and then regroup at Cley. Both common and grey seals usually bask on the sandbanks at the tip of Blakeney Point, normally numbering around 500 individuals.

Please confirm your booking with Kathy – further details will be given at that time.

Leaders: Steve Howell and Andrew Green
Venue: Meet at Cley NNT Visitors Centre at 8.00 a.m.

Monday 10th October 2016

Iolo WilliamsIolo Tudur Williams is a Welsh nature observer and an amazing speaker. He is best known as a television presenter on BBC Springwatch. He was born in Builth Wells, Powys, the son of a Headmaster.

Iolo is currently the President of the Wildlife Trusts Wales and heavily involved with other charities such as: Tŷ Hafan, the Welsh Kite Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Plantlife, the Sea Trust, Gower Bird Hospital, the Welsh Ornithological Society and Mencap. Also proceeds from this event will help to fund “The Access for all path” at RSPB Minsmere.

Venue: The Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh
Time: 7.30 p.m.
Cost: £12/ticket (from Kathy or via booking office)

Saturday/Sunday 15th/16th October 2016

Orford Ness is the largest vegetated shingle spit in Europe. This National Trust nature reserve contains a variety of habitats including shingle, saltmarsh, mudflat, brackish lagoons and grazing marsh and has proved to be a magnet for migrating birds. Regular monitoring by members of Landguard Bird Observatory has demonstrated the importance of the site as a migrant stop-off point. The Ness is also important for breeding birds and its coastal shingle flora include a large number of nationally rare species.

There are toilets onsite and, although the tracks and paths that circumnavigate the reserve are level, access to and from “the island” is difficult for disabled visitors. The walk will be leisurely, but is approximately 6 miles long. This event will formally start at 8.00 a.m. on the Sunday, although there is limited availability for a few members (principally bird ringers) who wish to stay overnight in the self- catering dormitory block. There is no leader for the Saturday, although the reserve is open to visitors for those who wish to visit Orford Ness unaccompanied during times when reserve is open to the public.

Please park in the Orford Town Council pay-and-display car park close to the quay. The cost of the current permit and ferry fees for non NT members is approximately £9 (£4 for members), which is payable on the quay.

Leaders: Steve Piotrowski and Paddy Shaw
Meet: Orford Quay for boat at 8 a.m.

Monday 12th December 2016

Steve Piotrowski will be talking about the exciting WBC trip to Georgia and Armenia earlier this year.

Note from Kathy:
We will coincide this with a  Christmas celebration and I will of course do my best to make you a yummy supper xxx

Venue: The Maltings Pavilion, Pirnhow Street, Ditchingham, NR35 2RU
Time: 7:30 p.m.

20160511-21. Radde's Accentor 11.5.16 - Eddie Marsh
Radde’s Accentor – Eddie Marsh
  • Members are advised to register their interest with Kathy (01986 893311) on events they wish to attend. Fees/deposits should be forwarded to Kathy with cheques made out to Waveney Bird Club unless otherwise stated.
  • Attendees for the more popular events, with limited capacity, will be decided on a first come first served basis and, if a fee or deposit is required, after moneys are received.
  • The club reserves the right to alter or cancel any event. Only those that have registered an interest for that particular event will be informed of any changes. The leader may choose to alter the itinerary on the day.
  • Most outdoor events are all-day, so it is advisable to bring sufficient food and drink.
  • Young people (15 or under) are very welcome providing they attend with a responsible adult.
  • Members are asked not to bring dogs.
  • Appropriate footwear and warm clothing is advisable on all field events – no “loud” colours such as reds and yellows please.
  • Please inform the leader on the day if you leave the event earlier than the prescribed finishing time.
  • The WBC website ( www.waveneybirdclub.com ) will be used as the club’s main point of information including changes to events and emails may be sent to stimulate interest and/or as reminders.