There were more birds than we’d seen in several recent visits, and immediately afterwards the first of several delightful wild or escaped domestic plants in flower.
We chose a route that took us along the seafront with grey breakers on a cloudy late morning. The first hide we entered was as good as any we remember: masses of black headed gulls as always but also kittiwake, terns, knot, godwit and shelduck. Sand martins filled the air. Cameras were at work all round.
Not far from East Hide, where we were, is a public hide, free to enter and almost as good a viewpoint as the one RSPB members pay to use. As such, it must be the kind of taster that recruits new members as well as those who look in casually in their walk along the shore.
Further on there is also an improvised bench set on a bank above the shingle. On any day it is a good place for a picnic and sometimes affords a view of seals as well as passing birds. In June it is also a fine spot for tamarisk, wild lupin, sea kale and honeysuckle, all in bloom.
Behind the dunes there is now a regular bench, with a view towards the ruins of Leiston Abbey or, if you wish, Sizewell nuclear power station. Standing there it is also possible to see the Coastguard cottages that now serve refreshments to National Trust visitors to Dunwich Heath.
The walk back to Minsmere visitor centre passes several more places to see birds, and this time also we were delighted to find yellow flag iris and marsh orchid as well as, in one further hide, a pair of distinctive Mediterranean gulls and several of the avocet that have been adopted as the RSPB logo.
Most of the paths at Minsmere as compliant with restricted-mobility access and even the hides were being used by wheelchair passengers. People with walking aids were in many places, enjoying a hobby most had probably followed since they were young and nimble. There were also children being guided by RSPB staff. It is very much a place for everyone.