Adam's dad took us into deepest, darkest Suffolk, on a mission to see Smew, a bird that me and Adam haven't seen in 10 years or more. The omens weren't good, a visit to Southwold Town Marsh was devoid of Yellowlegs, and a flock of fully 200 Barnacle Geese was Red-breasted Goose-less. We did see a Bar-headed Goose, the description of which is currently being shredded by a manically laughing BOU official.
Things finally started looking up when we spotted a flock of 30-odd Bewick's Swans at a pig farm near Dunwich. Arriving at Minsmere, we opted for an anti-clockwise loop, and were rewarded with a redhead Smew from West Hide. Hurrah! South Hide provided an Avocet, and the list was ticking along. The East Hide gave more views of the Smew, and then a male swam into view, a striking bird, and almost worth the wait from my only previous sighting, back in 1994! A Spotted Redshank was also new for the year. The last bird before lunch was Bearded Tit, three showing well beside the path back to the visitor's centre.
After lunch we took the woodland trail, and following a typically birdless Bittern Hide experience, we scored with a pair of Ruddy Duck and a Kingfisher from Island Mere Hide. near the car park a Bullfinch called and was duly located. On the way back we called into Dunwich Heath to look for Dartford Warblers, but came away with nothing more than Great Crested Grebes on the sea.
Year list now 110 (+3 non-BOU)