Archive for Mar, 2016



A six spot Ladybird!

Six spot Ladybird


Plastic coated world

The autopsy results for some of the Sperm Whales that recently stranded on the German coastline have been published. Although not the cause of death they had all ingested a considerable amount of plastic. One of them had even swallowed a plastic car cover for God’s sake. The plastic would eventually have caused the whales problems and inevitable death.

This week the ‘Marine Conservation Society’ published the results of its 2015 beach clean survey. They found 99 plastic bottles on every kilometre of beach surveyed.

It’s time this stopped.

When I was a boy I used to collect up the glass bottles and take them back to the off-licence to reclaim a refund that supplemented my pocket money. Isn’t it about time we started something similar for plastic bottles? Surely it makes sense and would be a start to cleaning up our oceans.

The photo is one I took last year of a bull Sperm Whale – are they worth saving? You tell me.

Sperm Whale


Sign here …

The Hen Harrier persecution continues in Scotland, England and Wales. There’s been lots on social media about what’s happening and last week the RSPB issued a paper on what they see as an impartial viewpoint on the state of driven grouse moors.

It has to be remembered the days of a small bag of grouse on an afternoons ‘entertainment’ on the moors are long gone. This is an industry.

What I’d thought I’d do is unwrap the salient environmental points raised to make the situation easily and quickly understood.

  • The management of driven grouse moors has benefits for some waders.
  • Some predators are legally killed to increase productivity.
  • Statistics indicate some predators including Peregrines, Red Kites, Golden Eagles and Hen Harriers are illegally persecuted to increase productivity.
  • Grouse Moors are a major originator of our fresh water.
  • Grouse are treated against worm infections by use of chemicals and there is concern that these chemicals are entering the wider environment.
  • To aid tick infection of Grouse Deer and Mountain Hares are culled.
  • Diseases may be spreading to Black Grouse due to the intensity of Red Grouse populations
  • Driven Grouse moors may be breaking article 7 within the EU bird directive designed to protect the habitat.
  • There is little or no legislation covering the grouse moor industry.
  • The burning on deep peat areas to achieve new bud growth on heather, which grouse feed upon, is breaking government regulation.

Please read the full paper for an in depth picture. I feel it’s now important we get this discussed in parliament and legislate the industry.

I’ve signed a petition here

At 10,000 signatures… the government will respond to this petition

At 100,000 signatures, the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament

I don’t often ask anything of ‘Letter from Norfolk’ readers but I strongly urge you to sign too.

If this doesn’t work more direct action may need to be taken to stop persecution of Hen Harriers and Mountain Hares. The situation has got to a disgusting state and is out of control. This Red Grouse as taken on our Scottish Birders Long Weekend last April.

Red Grouse






A slug of chemical

Friend Bob and I were musing over the identity of a crop. We do this from time to time when we can’t identify what’s being grown. We show an interest in land use. It may not be our land but it’s our environment.

Bob asked the farmhand on the tractor. He was told it was a mulching crop. It was grown prior to the planting of Sugar Beet, spayed off to kill it and then the Sugar Beet was planted through it. This then apparently negated the need for the use of slug pellets! … WHAT?

I didn’t know slug pellets were used on an industrial scale… did you? I investigated and they sure are. I stopped using these things in the garden in the 1970’s when their threat to wildlife was highlighted.

It’s easy to subjectively attribute blame and say no bloody wonder the Hedgehog population has declined by 40% in the last 10 years and there has been a 70% decline on farmland of Song Thrushes between 1970 and 1995… but it does make you think … doesn’t it?

Problems do come from pumping chemicals into the environment; anyone that lived through the DDT era will know that. Even today I read that in the USA, in California the government are spraying Silver Iodide into the atmosphere to seed cloud formation and induce rain. Much needed rain within a drought stricken area; but at what cost?

The problem is when the environment is disrupted; when natures balance is affected, when things are done on an industrial scale for industrial sized human populations the solving of one problem quite often leads to another. We must try hard to work with nature and not against her.

Song Thrush



Couldn’t resist another photo of the Laplands at Blakeney. Now getting their summer garb.

2016 03 17 Lapland Bunting Blakeney Norfolk_Z5A5252


To meet a prince

It’s spring!

2016 03 13 Frog Sheringham Park Norfolk_Z5A5152


The f Stop

It’s always quoted that opening up the aperture on your camera is the way to throw the background in photographs out of focus. You would want to do this to make the subject of what you’re shooting stand out; more often than not anyway. Sometimes it’s good to break rules but frequently there’s nothing more distracting than a lot of clutter in a photo to take away attention from what you’re photographing.

Sounds simple doesn’t it? Change from f10 to f4 and hey presto the background has a nice blurred effect. Simple.

In fact I feel it’s a grossly over used quote. Sure it will blur the background, but an easier way is to use a long focal length lens and get as close as you can to your subject. Much better effect.

We went out to the coast this week on a photography tour. We managed to photograph quite a bit despite the wind, the rain, failing light and cold fingers. The Black headed Gulls were quite charming. This particular one was my favourite.

Black headed Gull


The Norfolk Wing – 2015/16

The latest edition of Norfolk Wing has now been published here

I hope you enjoy it.

The Norfolk Wing




New Website

Well! That was a bit of a week that was. Talk about getting to grips with software and messing about on the laptop. If the next time you see me I’ve got oblong eyes and look like Brains out of Thunderbirds you know why!

I think … he said cautiously … it’s now all done and dusted. The website is live. Just needs someone to have a gander at the spelling, but yes … Elvis has left the building!

Please take a look and tell me what you think.



Geese and Goosanders

Our ‘Winter Geese’ tour to the Solway last month once again was enjoyed by all. As well as the usual Green winged Teal that seem to arrive each year we also turned up a Snow Goose among the Barnacles. Some inclement weather didn’t stop us from having a great time and the hotel where we stayed was just magnificent. Next year the tour to the Solway will be geared favourably for the photographer. The ‘Geese and Goosander Tour’ for 2017 is now open for bookings See details here Itinerary – Solway Geese & Goosanders 2017.

Goosander 2

Barnacle Goose

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Mar 2016


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