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Sunday 31 August 2014

A walk around the village...

As you may know (and can see from the pictures below!) Blofield Heath / Hemblington is a truly delightful place for a wildlife enthusiast to live. As well as the acres of cereals that attract finches, buntings and Turtle Doves, there are several copses and pieces of woodland, including the newly established Jary's Wood, Adam's Wood and Millennium Wood.

A walk around these yesterday revealed clouds of Migrant Hawkers and Ruddy / Common Darters as well as plenty of butterflies, including this pair of Green-veined Whites.

Other interest came in the form of  'our' flock of Guinea Fowl, which seem to have had a good breeding season, several pairs of Sparrowhawks and a Hobby.

Last mystery: what is the significance of this strange piece of sculpture in Adam's Wood?


Saturday 30 August 2014

Hard Winter ahead?

When I was young, there was a popular belief that an abundant berry crop was a strong sign of a harsh Winter ahead. Well this year's berry crop is unbelievable: every fruiting tree seems over-burdened: even in our garden, an ancient tree that hasn't done anything for ten years is dripping with apples.
I reckon 'nature' is as likely to be right as the climatologists who failed to predict ten years of global cooling which they're currently trying to explain by ignoring the basic principles of liquid convection: let's wait and see!

Guelder Rose





Spindle Tree


Friday 29 August 2014

Willows in the Wind!

With lots of orders to post and frames to make for Autographica, I grabbed a brief window of opportunity for a run around Strumpshaw. Reed cutting and other maintenance rendered the Fen Hide unusable, but Tower Hide held some decent waders (for the mid-Yare Valley!)

Dragons & Damsels were still much in evidence, and I managed some decent shots of three of the five Willow Emeralds that sheltered from the strong wind in their favourite dyke....


Wednesday 27 August 2014

Winterton with Martin

Another bash at the North Pool for Common Hawker proved fruitless: if I hadn't met Mick Saunt in the dunes who watched a female ovipositing last year, I'd wonder if this species is mythical in Norfolk!

All was not lost, though: Martin and I enjoyed a great walk with some bird highlights including Whinchat, Red-backed Shrike, Pied Flycatcher and Wheatear.

On the sea we noticed a distant 'brown job': seems to have Shearwater features.... Any help (though not abuse!) most welcome...

A move to Rush Hills at Hickling failed to add Great White (or any other!) Egret to the daylist, but there were plenty of Grey Herons, a terrific wasp (ichneumon?) and lots of hunting Migrant Hawkers.



Distant raptor-fest at Strumpshaw Fen

Chiefly out of desperation at being stuck indoors decorating for much of the past three days, I took a rapid five-mile spin around the Fen & Buckenham yesterday afternoon.

The 'seeing' was appalling and I just couldn't seem to set the camera up at all: moreover, necessary maintenance meant teams of vols were all over the rerserve cutting and burning reeds.

Nevertheless, a few odds and ends enlivened my walk: an Osprey flew across from Rockland, picking up a pair of Buzzards over Buckenham Woods, where a Hobby joined in the fun!

At Buckenham a couple of Whinchats flitted up and down in the high winds: workmen all over the riverbank guaranteed a complete lack of birds on the scrape, however.

Still lots of Odonata at Strumpshaw: Brown, Southern & Migrant Hawkers as well as dozens of Common Emerald Damsels.

Back home, I watched this Blue Tit pecking grains of sand (NOT cobwebs or insects!) from the wall outside my office!


Monday 25 August 2014

Lepidoptera update!

Pretty much for the same reason, I've updated the Butterflies too: a week in Devon and several trips to the Oxford chalklands have added to the list, which currently stands at 43 species...

For information:
The Queen of Spain Frit was at Minsmere several years ago: I've also seen one at Holkham.
The Camberwell Beauty was in our garden: I've seen five in Norfolk and two in Suffolk....


Odonata update!

Having obtained better pictures of a few species and having finally caught up with some others, I've updated the Dragons & Damsels pages (see menu on right!)

At the moment, I've seen 34 species in the UK and photographed all but one...

I've split them for easier reference and also listed them in the conventional order.


Sunday 24 August 2014

A load of hot air!

I might be - probably am - a big kid at heart, but I still find it a blast to look from my office window and see a hot air balloon: particularly one so large and so close!

Funny to think just a few hours earlier hailstones the size of mothballs were falling from that patch of sky!

Saturday 23 August 2014

Purple Haze!

Last of the Summer wine.... A visit to the garden show at the Norfolk Showground was enlivened by a somewhat frayed but very welcome Purple Hairstreak that flew past as Linda & I negotiated the purchase of a bronze Pileated Woodpecker! Amazingly, it landed on the grass, allowing close photos.

And the moral is: always have your camera with you!