Dunwich heath National Trust

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Dunwich heath
The Birds of Dunwich heath

The Birds of Dunwich heath

An area of outstanding natural beauty, Dunwich heath (National Trust) has many excellent walks across this remnant of the once extensive Sandlings heaths. Habitat includes, open tracts of heather and gorse, shady woods, sandy cliffs and beach. The main attraction is Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata (right) which returned to breed in the late 1990's. The best season is May to July and a walk west from the National Trust Car Park should produce singing Dartford wabler without walking any great distance.Other species include, Hobby, Stonechat, Nightjar, Tree Pipit, and other heathland birds.Sand martins are abundant in some years as they (currently) seem to prefer their nesting site on Dunwich cliffs, as apposed to their other favoured site at Minsmere.
There is a car park (expensive for non-NT members), tea and gifts at the old coastguard cottages. It is a good idea to combine this site with nearby Minsmere by parking at the RSPB reserve and exploring the north marsh of the reserve (much quieter), and heading towards Scottshall coverts, which then leads up to the heath.The cliffs allow a good vantage point for sea-watching.

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Where to watch Birds in East Anglia
East Anglia is one of the best birding regions in England. With its extensive areas of nationally scarce habitat such as the fens, reedbeds, undisturbed beaches and Breckland heath, it can be the only place to see several of England's most exciting birds. This is a guide to where to go in East Anglia to see many different species. It contains site accounts, plans, maps, lists of birds in the region and advice on planning birdwatching trips. This fourth edition is revised and updated.
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Where to watch Birds in East Anglia
Dartford Warbler

Dartford Warbler

Dartford Warbler (Sylvia undata). Length 13 CM.
Small dark warbler with long tail and short wings.Prefers gorse heathlands with heather, flying low over ground and occasionally singing from any slightly raised area.Easily overlooked due to its small size and perfect camouflage, blending into the background of it prefered habitat of lowland heather.When seen at close range, male birds display a beautiful wine red body and stunning red iris.The throat feathers have small white tips.
Learning the Dartford warbler's scratchy song will help find this often well hidden species, and a podcast is available for the warblers of Britain and Europe (see home page)

TIP:You only need to walk a few metres from the car park (toilet area) along the heathland track.If you can't see anything -be patient,the dartford warblers are here, but will often take some time to appear.

Pic:Rupert Pye

Bird photographs from Dunwich Heath
Bird video from Dunwich Heath
Dunwich Heath twitter
Dunwich heath blogs and links
Dunwich Heath local services
Birdwatching walks at Dunwich heath

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