As family days out go, not much beats a drive to the Suffolk coast to Aldeburgh during February half-term - especially with the promise of eating fish & chips on the sea wall, whilst the kids throw pebbles in the sea and chase the resident Herring Gulls - but I wasn't expecting to see a couple of Long-tailed Ducks on the River Alde!
Blessed with some welcome winter sunshine we parked-up and followed the sea wall south towards Orford Ness and as I scanned the river Alde I picked up a smart pair of Long-tailed Ducks being pushed along with the rising tide close to the river bank. Buy all accounts it has been an excellent winter for these birds off the East Anglian coast with up to 300 birds being reported at Holme/Titchwell alone, but it was a real bonus to see a pair of these skittish sea ducks up close and on the river. The birds soon moved out to the middle of the channel and I lost sight of them on the bend as they continued to dive and head in the direction of the mouth of the river and towards the sea.
Also of note along the river Alde were 52 Curlew and 3 or 4 Rock Pipits around the area of the Martello Tower but another big bonus was seeing a flock of 20 Barnacle Geese heading north and flying low over the sea. As non-birding winter family days out go, this was right up there with the best of them - but how fortunate was it that I had my bins and camera close to hand!