Posts Tagged ‘Suffolk


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.


Budget Statement

On our recent migration day at Minsmere … we saw lots.

I took this photo of a Great White Egret looking South from Island Mere hide towards the Sizewell nuclear plant. Given the chancellors recent announcement it set me thinking.

I thought the photo showed quite well the juxtaposition of where we are and the dilemma we face. The Egret is a relatively new coloniser in the UK, but it has become somewhat of a regular breeding species. It is a species that has taken advantage of ever northward moving increasing temperature contours. Increasing temperatures caused by human induced climate change. Then in the background is Sizewell power station. The site of the proposed new C reactor. A project designed to lower carbon emissions; to limit climate change.

Some would say why does Sizewell C have to take up prime wildlife habitat next to what could be described as the UK’s no1 showpiece reserve? I guess existing infrastructure has something to do with that; after all it has to go somewhere; and we do have to limit carbon emissions: don’t we?

Some would say why not pump the £30M estimated construction costs into wind, wave or solar energy production. So where do the turbines or panels go? I presume they have a larger landscape or seascape footprint than a nuclear plant producing an equivalent output.

The answers are not easy. I don’t know the solutions but there has to be some compromise and I do know we have to do something to reduce power production carbon emissions … but does it have to be Minsmere? Really?



A great time leading a course for the Field Studies Council at Flatford Mill in Suffolk over the last few days. A place steeped in history and some great participants on the course made for an enjoyable few days. Although the weather eventually drove us indoors on Tuesday, we had a fabulous day yesterday at Abberton Reservoir.


A few good birds

Lots of tours at the moment. Busy, busy, busy. A few good birds have cropped up en passant.


Egg laying Brown Hairstreak

A trip to Suffolk paid dividends at the weekend. Brown Hairstreak Butterflies were on the agenda but we did see so much more.

The Brown Hairstreaks are tree top dwelling insects and very rarely come down to ground level. The window for seeing them is pretty narrow; hence the reason they are so difficult to see. Around the third week in August, an hour either side of noon on sunny days the females fly down to Blackthrorn bushes. Between one and two metres from the ground they find a junction of a branch between old and new wood and lay a single white egg. She will repeat the egg laying process several times before returning to the canopy.

This back-lit photo shows just how beautiful these butterflies are. Next years tour for these beauties is set for Sunday 16th August – book early to avoid disappointment



Over the border

A trip into Suffolk at the end of last month gave some astounding views of a Great Northern Diver near Lowestoft. Look at that incredible red eye. I wonder why the eye is such a red colour? It shares this feature with other divers and some of the grebes. Perhaps it aids sight in the dull light of murky water. Its eye was pointed skyward a few times. I feel sure the beast had seen something high in the air; a raptor perhaps? Try as I might I couldn’t see anything, but I’d be willing to bet my right arm there was something up there. I’m constantly amazed sometimes how the eyesight on birds has developed to an extent beyond our understanding.




A trip over the border into Suffolk gave us a few Mandarin and something I’ve never seen before. Looking like something spectoristic on the heath … the ghost of Christmas past? No an albino Highland Cow!! How cool is that?

Let me take this opportunity to wish everyone that reads ‘Letter from Norfolk’ and the posts on Facebook a very peaceful Christmas




Military Orchids are supposed to have acquired their name from the flower resembling a Napoleonic uniform. The ‘hat’ and the ‘tunic buttons’ are evident but it takes more than a little imagination. I prefer to think the name derived from the way they stand straight and proud like soldiers.

At the bank holiday we wandered amid a small area in North Suffolk containing 90% of the UK’s Military Orchid flower spikes. Found here in 1955 numbers have varied over the years and we are now left with this small area no bigger than a tennis court.

Military Orchid 1 Military Orchid 2


A volery of Long tailed tits

Some of the most charming Long tailed Tits I’ve seen in a while came down to some feeders when we were in a hide last week. All the feeders were inside a chicken mesh cage which excluded squirrels and larger birds. I counted around 25 in or around the cage at one point.

Long tailed Tit



Having a gander

A trip into Suffolk to see a pair of obliging Goosanders turned into a trip to Suffolk to see a pair of un-obliging Goosanders. Still, when they did show they were, as they always are, majestic birds; although I reckon one of them was telling a yarn about the size of fish she’d caught.


Goosander 2


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Mar 2023


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