Our 2016 Events from your Perspective

We are very grateful for feedback and showcase some of it here

August 2016

Big Wild Sleep Out  on RSPB Havergate Island

August 2016

Nightjars over the Heath

July 2016

Nightjars over the Heath

July 2016

Photography Night on RSPB Havergate Island

July 2016

Photography Day on RSPB Havergate Island

June 2016

Tidal Travel Log - at Aldeburgh

June 2016

Nightjars over the Heath

June 2016

Four Quarters of Framlingham

May 2016

Alde Estuary Walk for Early Birds

May 2016

Tidal Travel Log - at Shotley Gate

May 2016

101 Years of Architecture in Thorpeness

April 2016

Photography Days on RSPB Havergate Island

March 2016

Tidal Travel Log - at Orford

March 2016

Photography Day on RSPB Havergate Island

February 2016

Tidal Travel Log - at Orford

January 2016

Tidal Travel Log - at Thorpeness

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July 2016

Foot-Notes to Music – Britten’s Aldeburgh

"Firstly please can you reserve us a place on the 2017 Big Wild Sleep Out? Secondly thank you so much to you and your team for a fantastic weekend. For me I loved the seclusion of the island, that special feeling that our group were the only people there. I learnt so much about the birds there and saw my first Short-eared Owl and Spoonbill. Thanks to John Grant and the others for being patient with us and answering our no doubt obvious questions! Now I just have to remember it all! A favourite moment was when we were sitting outside the hut eating breakfast and a hare ran along the beach in front of us. Ellen loved hares best and enjoyed the owl pellet dissection. She also enjoyed the freedom of exploring with the other kids - the running around in the mud bit! The camping and getting up early to see the sunrise also added to the excitement. Thank you to you and Marc for looking after us with hot drinks and pancakes - and of course for providing our roadii grill so that we could cook tea. We will buy the paper today and look forward to reading the article [in the EADT by John Grant]. Thanks again and see you next year!" - Sarah, Phil and Ellen H. from Suffolk.

"A belated note to say thank you from Fraser and I for our magical night on Havergate Island at the end of August. Fraser gave you his enthusiastic feedback himself(!), but I wanted to add that I think these trips are completely unique in what they offer all ages of nature-lovers. Fraser and I have had opportunities on Havergate which I don't think can be found elsewhere. They have created some very special memories for Fraser and I. Fraser says please tell Monika her pancakes were the best he's ever had. Thank you again." - Neil & Fraser D. from London.

"Firstly I would like to thank everyone involved in the organisation of this trip, especially John Grant for his friendly & enthusiastic sharing of bird-knowledge, Kevin Sawford for his help to a non-photographer with taking pictures, Marc for his kitchen duties (I have never seen anyone dish wash continuously for so long with so much enthusiasm!) & yourself for all your hard work, enthusiasm & good company. It is an art to achieve a happy, relaxed atmosphere while maintaining proper organisation & that, definitely, was accomplished. Moving on to the time on the island; obviously it was SO good to have more time there this year. That allows us not only to have longer to look around/watch wildlife, it means that if there are any difficulties (principally weather) then there is a much better chance of being able to catch up on what was missed. I do like the way your trips are relaxed & there is not the feeling of rushing from one activity to another. [...] The pancakes were a great success! They made a wonderful lunch & I think we all ate too much.... I shall now be experimenting with spelt flour! I knew of it previously but not exactly what it was. You asked for photos so a few attached. GREAT! HAVERGATE 2017! Looking forward already." - Angela P. from Suffolk.

"Louise and I really enjoyed our Nightjar Walk, even though we did not actually spot one! We did hear them though and found your guidance and enthusiasm quite infectious!" - Nigel H. from Suffolk.

"Just to say ' thank you' for the lovely evening on Sunday. It was just brilliant to see and hear the nightjars and to get a better understanding of the habitat." - Jenny & David M. from Cambridgeshire.

"Thank you, Monika, for your enthusiasm and knowledge. We had a magical evening searching for the elusive nightjar." - Pat & Kevin H. from Suffolk.

"So we went on holiday just 35 minutes away from our house [...] We had an amazing time. The weather was great, the light over Snape was golden yellow and on our last day [...] That same night C Monika Koch invited me via Facebook to join one of her guided walks through the heathlands in search of nightjars, and yes at dusk we heard and saw one of these delightful birds. I'd recommend her walks if you love nature and especially birds." - on www.facebook.com/WASuffolk by Elene Marsden from Suffolk.

"Just a word of thanks from Clare and I for a fantastic walk on Monday evening – yes, the weather helped, but you chose the route/where to view the amazing sunset/the places where we would be most likely to hear and see nightjars. The information you gave us regarding the habitats etc was fascinating too, and the “ pre-“ information invaluable! Please keep me on the mailing list, and I look forward to another guided walk with you in the future." - Pam P. from Suffolk.

"Many thanks again for the Nightjar walk, we all really enjoyed it and learnt a lot about what's there on our doorstep! See you soon," - Simon B. from Suffolk.

"We had a very informative and interesting evening. A beautiful sunset. Nightjars churring and hunting. Thank you Monika! A great experience and an evening to remember.“ - on www.facebook.com/WASuffolk by Kim Hickman from Norfolk.

"Thanks again for a really interesting evening last week. The night time visit to the Snape reserve was on of the highlights of our holiday. As city dwellers it was such a treat to see and hear rare and interesting wildlife. Your expert knowledge of the area and its ecology really helped us understand what we were seeing and brought home to us just how fragile the situation is for rare species. Best of luck with your unusual venture. We've already recommended you to friends and we may see you again if we holiday in Suffolk again." - Chris C. & Marc A. from Birmingham.

„I really enjoyed my heathland walk, it was a wonderful summers evening with a stunning sunset & great company. The highlight was a male Nightjar hunting only metres away with another one churring in the background, thanks Monika for the detailed description of the area & not forgetting showing us the glow worms.“ - on www.facebook.com/WASuffolk by Clare Ward from Nottinghamshire.

"Your Nightjar walk along the Alde Estuary was one of the highlights of our trip to Suffolk in July. The walk through the oak wood, by the river and on the heath was very special and we would have enjoyed it terrifically even if we hadn't seen any birds, however we were so excited to hear their churring and clapping and to see two nightjars flying around us. You were a great leader, with loads of interesting facts and anecdotes, who made us all feel welcome." - Jo & Stuart R. from Somerset.

"An absolutely wonderful Heath walk led by Monika who shared her extensive knowledge of the area and the Nightjars. So fabulous to have them flying around us as they hunt. Incredible sunset as well. Thank you.“ - on www.facebook.com/WASuffolk by Roz Watling from Brisbane, Australia.

"Thank you so much for organising our trip to Havergate on Saturday. I have put together a piece which uses some of the pictures I took and I hope gets something of the atmosphere www.richardpgibbs.org/2016/07/rspb-havergate-island.html. Also, if you like the piece, please forward the link to Kevin and Jeremy, from whom I learned much that was very useful." - Richard G. from Hertfordshire.

"Thank you so much for organising a special overnight photography trip to Havergate Island. The most memorable parts for me will be the hares in the golden light and the sea lavender, the deep blue atmospheric sky and the spoonbills in flight, the moonlit water and the constant chattering of the gulls. The provision of soup, bread and cups of tea, as always, was very welcome, and the tuition informative. In addition, it is always great to meet like-minded people to share and develop photography interests, whilst sharing the natural peace and space of the island. I look forward to more events like this in the future." - Jackie K. from Suffolk.

"Thanks for a wonderful day." - Roy A. from Norfolk.

"Dear Monika, Thank you so much for a wonderful tour last Monday. Our members thoroughly enjoyed their day in Aldeburgh. Kindest regards and thanks again." - Emma H. from the Norfolk Art Fund.

"Thanks again for another great event Monika & Jeremy, so helpful and enjoyable. Good idea of posting photos from the walk as always enjoy seeing others work. So now post a few including a group photo on the beach and that beautiful sunset." - on www.facebook.com/WASuffolk by Yina Horton from Suffolk.

"Hey, We so enjoyed the nightjar walk. Can you remind me of the name of the walk to Aldeburgh please, which footpath?" - Caroline K. from Suffolk.

"Back in Essex now and must thank-you again so very much for our greatly enjoyable heathland walk last Thursday evening. Sue and I found it a wonderful and memorable experience and are so pleased that we took part." - Colin & Sue M. from Essex.

"Please could I book two places for... Came last year and loved it!" - Jane & Graeme P. from Lincolnshire.

"Fabulous walk on Monday - thank you so much. Far better than watching Springwatch on the TV!" - Suzanne B. from Suffolk.

"My husband Nick and his cousin Les went on a Nightjar trip. They thought it was fantastic and will definitely return. Highly recommended." - on www.facebook.com/WASuffolk by Ali Harry from London.

"Many thanks for a most enjoyable evening at Snape yesterday. As I mentioned I have been out with various people and groups in previous years looking for the elusive nightjar without any joy but now success at last! Heard and seen! To see one silhouetted on that branch was great but then another flying so close when feeding was magical. We had the added good fortune to have an atmospheric evening as well with the sunset, full moon and ring of mist it was a very pleasant way to spend a few hours. The background information you provided on nightjars and other birds and plants we saw was most interesting." - Bryan W. from Suffolk.

"Just wanted to thank you again for the guided walk yesterday. We really enjoyed it and feel like Nightjar experts now!" - Rebecca & Joan S. from East Sussex.

"Thank you for sending the link to the map and for a great walk at Framlingham. As I think we've already said, length, description and timing were spot on and we look forward to joining more of your walks." - Hilary & Trevor H. from Suffolk.

"We thoroughly enjoyed the walk this morning and breakfast afterwards. We hope to come along to another, perhaps in the winter to see a different range of birds. Thanks again." - Ann & Zigurds K. from Suffolk.

"I really enjoyed the walk last Sunday morning and found it very informative." - William T. from Essex.

"Thank you for the walk, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am not a great birder and came on the walk for 'the walk' really but hoped I might learn something about birds on the way. I think I picked up a few things and David is so impressive in his knowledge, it's always good to be in the company of experts, their enthusiasm rubs off on you. I will have a look at your website as your company sounds very interesting. The breakfast at the Plough & Sail was very good too. Thank you," - Lesley P.

"Just to say thanks again for last night. I really enjoyed the event; have posted a few unedited photos on my Facebook page that you and Jeremy may like." - Martin S. from Suffolk.

"Really enjoyed Monday evening, very well organised. Learnt a lot about the area and a few good photography tips. Hope to join you again on another outing." - Paul P.

"Thank you so much for your excellent walking tour of Thorpeness. We would never have seen so much if we had walked round on our own. And we would certainly not have learnt about the Ogilvie Master Plan. What a vision to have and to achieve. And what a philanthropic person he was, a rare quality nowadays. Thorpeness has such a great story behind it. We spent the whole of yesterday at Sutton Hoo, thank you so much for recommending that. Many thanks for sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm with us." - Rosemary R. from Nottinghamshire.

"Many thanks for all your hard work and for looking after us so well yesterday. It was thoroughly enjoyable and I am very pleased with many of the pictures I took. Also Kevin was most helpful and I learned some valuable stuff from him." - Laraine G. from Suffolk.

"Just a note to thank you for Saturday. It was great to get close to hares that have eluded all my previous efforts and observe some behaviour at close quarters. I hope also that I have captured something of their character on camera though [weather] conditions - as you know - were extremely testing. Please pass on my thanks to Jamie and Kevin. I appreciated their advice. I made the following Slate Story from some of the pics taken on 9 April spark.adobe.com/page/x1YOk/" - Gary Dean from Cambridgeshire.

"Thanks for another great day on the island." - Jackie K. from Suffolk.

"Dear Monika & Kevin, Thanks for a great day despite most of the hares having a day off, much better than the rain on Saturday though. Sadly had to go back to work at 6am Monday, so haven’t had time to go through the 700 shots of a hare asleep! Think my few best pictures were as everyone left to pack up and I was alone with the hare who decided to do a few more animated things when it had less admirers. Will send some once I have had a chance to see if they any good. Thanks to you both," - Frances B. from Suffolk.

"Hi Monika, First off - just to say thanks once again for organising such a great day today - we all really enjoyed it - made all the better by your, Kevin & Jamie's presence." - Malcolm, Leigh & Simon from Cambridgeshire.

"Sorry to hear that those attending [10 April] didn’t get the experience we had, but in truth we never in our wildest dreams expected to spend so much time in such close proximity to hares as we did. The weather wasn't too much of an inconvenience – and from our perspective was preferable to bright sunshine. As they say no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing - and attitude. And although we had one or two camera issues as a consequence of the rain, all is working fine again now. We've downloaded images but haven’t had any time to do anything to them yet - but from reviewing on camera we know we have a very good selection of “keepers”. Likewise, looking forward to catching up with you (and hopefully the hares) again." - Malcolm & Leigh C. from Cambridgeshire.

"I really enjoyed my day with you on the 9th April. Whilst the weather was challenging it didn't affect my enjoyment of the day. Though I was very glad of the hot soup in the afternoon. I was very appreciative of the time and advice from Kevin and Jamie, and have been looking at how to use the advice as I travel around Suffolk and further afield. Since coming back from the day I have been much more aware of all the wild life around Suffolk. Only last Thursday evening around 6pm I was watching a Barn Owl hunting and pouncing on prey. Please find attached three of my images which I took on the day." - Robert J. from Suffolk.

"Thanks for your email, again I would like to say how much we enjoyed the afternoon with like minded people, excellent tutorials coupled with local knowledge tying it all together. As for the weather that is a distant memory now. As we said on the day "skin itaken erproof". I have attached some shots I'd taken, hope you find them suitable and in some way reflect how the day went." - David & Jacqueline N. from Norfolk.

"Thanks for an interesting afternoon. Shame about the weather but that's life. Keep up the good work! Not much in the way of photos but I have added 3 for you. Mainly my camera is not water resistant. One is just before sunset at the quay. The other two are the two oddly carved pony heads in the church. I had a vision of a bored chorister whiling away the time. Best wishes for the next events." - Gareth J. from Norfolk.

"I wanted to thank you and 'the boys' for a great day at Havergate Island, I was literally 'blown away'! The hares gave us a great opportunity to get up close and personal, and fulfill my aim of getting some whiskers with my admittedly 'puny' lens :) Your hospitality was great, especially the soup to warm us all up, and Kevin and Jeremy were informative without being overbearing - I was so windburnt my face was on fire, and I slept like a log that night. I've attached some of my favourite photos." - Sue K. from Suffolk.

"Thank you for today. We really enjoyed ourselves. It is a great place and the hares are amazing. It was really good being so looked after." - Paul & Fran C. from London.

"A couple of ‘behind the scenes’ shots for you from our day over at Havergate. Thank you again for a super trip." - Robert P. from Kent.

"Firstly thanks for all your efforts in creating a well run, well organised day. Yourself, Kevin and Jeremy all ensured I got as much out of the trip as I could have wanted. I have uploaded my photos here to Flickr. I ended up taking 1300 shots using 2 cameras, but thankfully managed to filter it down to 92 photos for my album (some of them were similar and I could have filtered them some more, however I certainly got way more photos of hares in various poses than I had anticipated). I learnt a lot from the day (I'd certainly never shot for that long continuously before) and of course I made some mistakes (The worst being I changed one of my cameras to underexpose when the rainbow came and forgot to change it back afterwards). I didn't get such good action shots as some of the ones on Facebook, but I'm very pleased with the stationary ones I took. I will certainly be returning at some stage!" - Richard O. from Surrey.

"Many thanks for everything today - another great day on the island, with an especially fine show from the hares late afternoon/evening!" - Jackie K. from Suffolk.

"Thank you for an enjoyable and instructive afternoon on Sunday. I've attached a couple of my images from the day as requested." - Alan S. from Essex.

"Well organised and excellent value for money." - Doug & Joanna S. from Suffolk.

"Thank you for today's walk and photography session. I really enjoyed it and we had great weather. Everything was well organised as usual. Thanks again," - Dianne G. from Norfolk.

"Hi Monika, I did enjoy the photo training in February with you and Jeremy. Thanks and we stay in touch." - Emmanuel B. from Suffolk.

"Hi Monika, I really enjoyed the afternoon thanks to you and Jeremy. I often go to Thorpeness but had no idea about it’s history. I have attached two of my favourite photos (which I’ll also put up on Facebook). Thanks to Jeremy I learnt more about how my camera works which made my day. Looking forward to see you all at Orford. Best wishes," - Rosemary T. from Suffolk.

"We very much enjoyed our first ever visit to Thorpeness and learning about its history. Thanks also go to Jeremy for the tips on low light photography." - Peter & Linda W. from Hertfordshire.