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Showing posts from January, 2015
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Loving the Alien
The Yare Valley is well known to me being positioned within easy striking distance of the eastern suburbs of Norwich. There as a growing lad I, together with my mates, regularly cycled its narrow windswept lanes throughout the seasons seeing, smelling and tasting its wild delights. Its charm is a subtle one, a gentle one, like so much of this Norfolk of ours. A shallow rolling landscape affording wide open views over the long sloping valley which gives way to a landscape of rich marshland bordering the slow moving river. It takes a while to thoroughly appreciate its raw, sometimes bitter beauty, but over the years its essence has penetrated deep, to my very soul in fact.
If you could compare photographs of how it looked when I used to gaze at it from the high point near Strumpshaw, taking a rest after a hard days cycling, or when we arrived tired and hungry at Buckenham Halt after a full day traipsing across the marshes you would probably say that it hasn't changed…
How cold can it get?
It was bitter at Cley today, so cold that even now some 5 hours after I said goodbye to the bleak winter-washed marshes I am struggling to get warm. Caught in Bishop's Hide when an evil looking cobalt-coloured curtain swept in from the west, I could do nothing but try and shore up the viewing hatches in a vain effort to prevent the horizontal squall soaking me and everything therein. I failed.

To cap it all I somehow managed to lose my footing whilst stepping over one of the logs in the car park after lunch. Whack! Down I went hard onto my left knee. Muddy trousers, now with a lovely tear in them lent an air of mild desparation to my rapidly deteriorating deameanour. After all a man has to have dress standards. To my complete surprise there was no pain, not even after I'd tramped around the reserve perimeter muttering various curses under my breath........at least not until I got home when the pain was literally crippling.

So here I sit, watching the footy…
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Praise for the EverydayIt's not all about rare birds you know. I can't help thinking that the worth of a bird is too often judged nowadays by its perceived rarity and that this is a big mistake. The danger with this approach is that you risk overlooking the commonplace, your birding bread and butter, in favour of some exotic creature that has lost its way. Much like being led astray by some temptress who flutters her eyelashes; it is but a temporary infatuation. The eyelashes, together with she who sports them, will soon drift away to beguile some other admirer and leave you bereft and forlorn. No, much better to stick to the stuff that made the effort to charm you in the first place, look at it afresh and really appreciate its value. Much more satisfying I feel.

Take the chap I bumped into at Titchwell yesterday. Instead of taking delight in the wonderful birds on show; the brilliance of the shoveler's head gloss, the red shock of the bullfinch's breast, the ghostly, b…

All Abroad

I sometimes contribute to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust blog which can be found here. Simply scroll down the home page and click on the blog tab. There are some very interesting articles here providing updates on the work of the Trust and their aspirations for the shape of nature conservation in the county. Most of my bits relate to days spent volunteering at Cley, but I reproduce below an account of a trip to Ranworth in the heart of the wonderful Norfolk Broads I made a few days ago. You should go there if you can.
A Mid-Winter Visit to Ranworth
A mid-winter visit to Ranworth seldom disappoints and today it looked wonderful bathed as it was in the rich glow from the low-angle on a January sun.First stop was to watch people feeding the ducks by the Staithe. Here the mallards are joined by a flotilla of coots, a pair of cantankerous swans and the ever present and watchful black headed gulls. These latter opportunists, visitors from the Baltic perhaps, mug the local wildfowl of their stale …

A Reason Why

So this is my blog and you are most welcome. It's not going to be a diary of mundane day by day events (Dear Diary: got up, did bugger all and went to bed): no, the plan is to scribe on these pages my thoughts and experiences of wildlife watching as I move sloth-like through my 59th year of life. And maybe beyond. It won't be exclusively wildlife related; there will hopefully be a richer tapestry here. We'll see. Perhaps a bit of background would be in order.
I quite enjoy writing, I think it is a trait shared by many lovers of wild places and wild things. I first started putting pen to paper (a real pen (remember those) to actual paper as opposed to finger to keyboard) sometime during 1974. In those far off days of my late teens I scribbled a kind of wildlife journal in large foolscap ledger books my father had somehow procured (or more likely purloined) from the Post Office where he worked. My first entry therein was an account of time spent trudging over the marshes betw…