Because of the wealth of unusual birdlife, the site around Whitehouse Barns has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The intertidal marshes directly beside the property are also designated as a RAMSAR (wetland of international significance), a Special Protection Area AND a Special Area for Conservation as well as being part of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Few areas carry higher designations for wildlife. We are only about 10 miles from Minsmere, but many visitors say they see an even wider selection of birds from the windows of Whitehouse Barns (although we don't have bitterns, they do nest on the Hen Reedbeds which are close by!)
Our neighbour is a very serious birdwatcher, as are many of our regular guests who come again and again. We also have a good selection of bird books on the shelves. Resident birds include a large flock of avocets, egrets, woodpeckers, owls, and waders, with marsh harriers, kestrels and black pheasants as regular visitors.
Here is a selection of bird logs written in our visitors book:
- April 2005 "shelduck, curlew, blacktailed godwit, black headed gulls, oyster catchers, kestrel, marsh harrier, dunlin"
- 15th to 22nd July 2005 "stoats, rabbits, female partridge and family, 2 little egrets, tawny owl, 3 green woodpeckers, oyster catchers, lapwing, 4 Egyptian geese, little owl, barn owl, flock of starlings, marsh harrier, grey heron, gold finches, cormorants, shellduck, snipe"
- 29th July to 5th August 2005 "Barn owl, little owl, red legged partridge and five young, hobby, jackdaws, rooks, curlew, lapwing, redshanks, dunlin, 2 Egyptian geese, green woodpecker, greater spotted woodpecker, chaffinch, greenfinch, goldfinch, linnet, dunnock, great tit, blue tit, wren, pied wagtail, swallow, housemartin, oyster catcher and the bird of my childhood - skylark!"