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Showing posts from February, 2017

It's All About Timing

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It’s been a breezy few days. After the spring like conditions we enjoyed early on, tempting robins to begin building a nest on the ivy covered wall just outside our kitchen, we were brought abruptly down to earth in midweek when winter returned to blow us, together with countless fence panels, briskly towards the weekend.
Wednesday saw me and a fellow nature lover traipsing across the sandy paths of Dunwich Heath hoping to find Dartford warblers to photograph. This area is managed by the National trust and in summer is ablaze with bright purple carpets of heather stretching as far as the eye can see; today the acres of heather were barren and bare, their crown of brown, empty flower spikes rattling in the unrelenting currents of air blasting across the gently undulating landscape of east Suffolk.Stands of gorse, bedecked with coconut scented blooms, provided small oases of colour, but otherwise all was bleak. The birds were obviously in no mood to cooperate, hunkering down in the low …

As Viewed Through a Car Window

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A rare, but gratefully received, day of sunshine and relative mildness tugged me into the bright green expanses of East Norfolk. The break in my lethargy did not extend so far as to actually indulge in exercise - no walking involved today – but instead I thought I would slowly drive along the many narrow lanes spider-webbing the northern slopes of the Yare Valley to see what I could find.
First stop the marshland near Acle where I hoped, vainly as it turned out, to catch sight of a short-eared owl. Whilst no such yellow-eyed, sharp-taloned hunter gave itself up, I was quite impressed with the large numbers of swans bedecking the fields either side of the A47. Most were mute swans feasting on the tops of some root crop, but in the distance I spotted a pair of Bewick’s swans and beyond them it looked like several of the herd had rather straight necks; too far away for any meaningful identification.


Ranks of rooks and jackdaws, splattered like notes on a musical stave, probed the soft ea…

Hickling Harriers

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It is cold here. Bitterly cold. A raw easterly wind whipping in from the North Sea a mile or two away; the boundary between the flat lands of eastern Norfolk and the miles of cruel grey water marked by a line of raised dunes seen as a smudge of dull green on the horizon. The scene before us a patchwork of reed bed, course grazing marshes and fen, interspersed with twisted and stunted hawthorn. The closest you can get to a barren wilderness in this part of the world for there are but scant traces of human activity: a forlorn and long abandoned wind pump, its skeletal sail arm pointing defiantly skywards; a single distant house rendered almost invisible by its light coloured walls blending seamlessly into the gathering murk. Nothing else, just the wild open landscape unique to this Broadland haven.


Us five friends have trudged to this spot, nothing more than a raised bank bordering a drainage dyke, to witness one of nature’s most thrilling and humbling spectacles; the winter roosting of…