Archive for Jan, 2023


Larking about

Walking along the cliffs in the week was a delight. The sun was shining and the wind had dropped; it could even be said it was warm. Warm enough to make it pleasant to stand and watch the sea. It was high tide and the waves were licking the base of the cliffs. Very little was passing-by to the North but here in the grass around me the Skylarks were definitely feeling Spring in the air. The warmth had got to them too and their blood was up and flowing. Pairs were displaying. Crouching, wing spreading, bowing and generally larking about.


Who’s watching who

I was stood watching the marsh the other day and a Buzzard landed in the tree next to me. He was obviously uncomfortably sat on a load of spiky twigs despite there being better perches just a little further away. I wondered why he’d chosen that particular vantage point so close to me. Then I saw the rats running around nearby!


Good numbers

Seems to be some good numbers of wild swans about this winter. These Bewicks did a nice flypast last week.


Fabulous fabalis

There are two species of bean geese. Anser serrirostris the Tundra Bean Goose which occurs erratically but regularly in the UK and Anser fabalis the Taiga Bean Goose.

A regular flock of Taiga Bean Geese occurs near Falkirk each winter. This flock used to be on the itinerary of any winter visit North of the border. A regular flock also used to occur in the Yare Valley here in Norfolk. No more. Long gone are the days of 70 or 80 birds viewable from the end of the railway platform at Buckenham. They were always the subject of a regular winter visit to the Buckenham and Cantley marshes. The flock has diminished over time and for the last few years there have been few if any. A sad indictment of the current biodiversity depletion. As a consequence they have become a scarce visitor here in the South.

Taiga (pronounced Tiger) Bean Geese are larger, longer necked and bigger billed than their Tundra cousins; almost Swan like. I’d forgotten what a graceful bird they are until Tania and I saw a small group of four this week. Always distant and always wary we spent a little time watching them at Ludham. Fabulous fabalis


Fools dancing before an abyss.

It dawned on me quite early in my life that the way to protect the wildlife and birds in an area is to protect the area itself. Protecting the environment is key to having a safe home and area for creatures to live and breed. It’s not bloody rocket science is it? Cut down a forest for agriculture and everything in the forest will die or have to move elsewhere. Concrete and tarmac over a wild area and the insects that are key to supporting our wildlife will die or move on. Insect life supports everything above it like a Jenga tower. Pull out too many bricks and the whole lots clatters downward. The problem is we are running out of areas for our creatures to move to and we are loosing wildlife habitat and consequently our wildlife at a rate of knots.

Those of you that live locally will know of the area that is just to the West of Cromer on the South side of the A149 coast road. A wild piece of land full of bushes and scrub, often referred to as the site of the old zoo; not only important for breeding birds but also for migrants. Scrub is such an important habitat. It is not waste land. It’s essential habitat. I’ve seen Ring Ousel here, Red backed Shrike, Citrine Wagtail, Barred Warbler as well as commoner migrants. Those of you that have lived here longer than I will know of more rarities found here on migration. Well no more!

The area has been cleared. It’s gone. bulldozed and cut away to nothing. Some, self-important, pound greedy, cretin of an imbecile, has ordered the whole area to be cleared. We are in the middle of a biodiversity crisis and some idiot did this.

A few years ago I was just one of the individuals that objected to a building development on the land. For all the reasons outlined above, it did not seem like a good idea. Well take away all the ideal habitat and all the reasons to object are swept aside. Ruthless.

It was friend Andy (his photo below) that told me of the clearance. I went that morning to take a look. I was so so dejected. When will people understand that we are sawing away at the branch of the tree we are sat on. Bloody fools. Complete and utter … BLOODY FOOLS!

Photo credit: Andy Hale


Birding Course

Any budding birdwatchers out there? I shall be running a beginners course for the Field Studies Council at Flatford in Suffolk next month. There are still some places available.



A subtle but firm ‘tack’, gave away a Stonechat calling to his mate.


Craning a neck

One thing I love about the Broads is the wide expanse of reedbeds. Reeds talk in the breeze; softly murmuring. Their song is only broken by the haunting cry of Cranes. Last week we were craning our necks to see over reeds when up flew flock after flock; ‘whooping’ their way into the distance.

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Jan 2023


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