Saturday, 24 May 2008

Flower and bird display

Spring flowers have really come on in my Mum's garden since I was last up there just two weeks ago. The heliathemum plants are a blaze of colour!

The wild area which goes down to the river Churn at the bottom of Mum's garden is a riot of Cow Parsley and Buttercups. There is still a bit of Ladies Smock for the Orange Tip butterflies too.

As in years past, we have a crazy male Goldcrest which jumps up and down continuously at my Mum's bedroom window. It was always on the move, but I did manage to get a couple of photos of it! Manic!

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Constable country

A friend of mine is leading a trip for the Bristol Ornithological Club to Suffolk next month so she asked if I would come with her to spend a couple of days doing a recce of the area.

We set off at 4am so that we would miss most of the rush hour traffic around London and got to Suffolk just before 9am. This gave us the rest of the day to suss out various birding sites. The day was lovely and sunny but there was a brisk north easterly wind that kept the temperatures well pegged back!
One of the most important sites that we visited was Minsmere RSPB reserve. This is one of the oldest and most well known reserves in Britain see . We spent some time here enjoying a wonderful wader fest with plenty of Terns and Marsh Harriers to add to the mix.
At the end of the day we made our way to our accommodation at Flatford Mill, a field studies centre owned by the National Trust. This is where John Constable did alot of his most famous paintings. We were extremely lucky to be able to stay in an old Tudor Hall, built around 650 years ago. The place was simply stunning as you can see from the following photos.
The next day it was supposed to be raining all day, but again we were lucky in that it didn't rain at all. We were able to visit several more sites which all looked very promising for birding in a months time. Thanks Jane for inviting me to join you on this wonderful trip!

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Work and Play

A couple of days up at Mum's gave me the opportunity for a nice mix of work and play.

The work part centered mainly on planting up Mum's vegetable patch. She has a good mix of fruit and vegetables each year. This year we have Early and Main crop Potatoes, Peas, Broad Beans, Runner Beans, Carrots, Turnips, Leeks, Red Onions, Shallots and Red Cabbage. She already has Raspberries, Blackberries and Strawberries planted from previous years.

As usual, as I worked there was plenty of bird song all around me. Most vocal was a strident Song Thrush and a the beautiful continuous song of the Skylark way way up in the sky above me. There were also many Goldfinches in the trees around me with their lovely liquid sounding song.I checked the compost bin to see if any Slow worms had taken up residence and found this one in there and also some young ones too. I also for the first time here, managed to see a glow worm in the garden on Friday night. A lovely bonus!

The play part of my couple of days up there was being able to go out early Saturday morning to do a Birdtrack survey in the country lanes around my Mum's home. There were lots of Skylarks and Yellowhammers and also 8 Hares in the arable fields which are always great to observe.

Part of my survey walk took me through the local Bluebell wood. They are just coming into bloom and should look spectacular in the next week or two.