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Christmas Eve 2014

24 Dec

At home most of the day today. Breezy but lots of sunshine, so nice and clear.

Not  much activity at the bird table just Starling, Blue and Great Tit, Dunnock, Blackbird. Plenty of Lesser Black-backed Gull flying over and several Black Headed. 3 Raptors seen from the garden, frequent views of a Kestrel, a female Sparrowhawk and a quick sighting of a Common Buzzard being chased by Carrion Crows.

Went for a walk very close to the village, plenty of Blackbirds eating the remnants of Crab Apples on the floor, also saw a small party of Long-tailed Tits. Spindle berries have just about dropped off the bushes or been eaten.  Back home now to wait for the International Space Station to fly over.

Merry Christmas

Start to Growing Season

27 Dec

Boxing Day is the traditional date for sowing onions but as I was not at home I kicked my growing season off to a start by sowing Bedford Champion onions and putting them in my airing cupboard this morning (26th December).  They should germinate in about 7 days then I will move them to a light warm room until large enough to transplant into larger pots.

I then went outside and planted my Garlic. This year I am trying the variety; Albigensian Wight. These were purchased the Isle of Wight Garlic Farm.

Boxing Day

27 Dec

I began the day in Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire. I was hoping to catch up with Hawfinch as they usually frequent the grounds around the chapel, but today I was out of luck. It was literally freezing while I waited, scanning the tree tops and listening for thier calls.

Several Nuthatch were active calling and flying from tree to tree, as were a number of Goldcrest.  Stock Dove and Woodpigeon braved the frosty start and were singing.


From here I drove to the village of Lound and walked around a section of the Idle Valley Nature Reserve. the whole complex covers a huge area and is mainly disused gravel pits with alot of willow scrub and a small section of woodland.



View from Neatholme Lane looking North towards Blaco Hill Farm

Waterfowl were well represented with Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Goldeneye, Canada and Greylag Goose on all the pits. Large numbers of Coot were also present.  Beyond the River Idle on Hayton Common there were about 80 Mute Swans with a small group of Whooper Swan.  It was very pleasing to see a flock of 30 Lesser Redpoll in Linghurst Wood.

Castleton December 7 2013

23 Dec

Left East Anglia early for a day around Castleton in the Peak District.  We were picked up by other members of our walking club (Norfolk Hillwalking Club) from Swaffham at 07:00.   The weather was OK as we drove across the fens towards the Friendly Farmer cafe which was to be our breakfast stop.  After a hearty breakfast we set off on the final leg of our journey, this time I was at the helm of the minibus.

At just after 10:30 we pulled up in the car park at the rear of the visitor centre in Castleton. There were 9 of us in total and we split in to two groups each doing a slightly different walk.  My plan was to leave Castleton on the Hope road then turn behind Lose Hill Hall and walk up to the top of Lose Hill. From here I planned to walk along the ridge to Hollins Cross, then MamTor.


Looking back towards Lose Hill


A lonesome Pine

The weather forecast was quite respectable for the day, not to cold, fine but windy. If we were really luck we might even see the sun!  There were a lot of people walking the ridge and some, judging by their footwear had just jumped off of one of the many coaches in the car park below.  We stopped for lunch just before reaching the top of Mam Tor. I knew it would be our best chance of shelter from the wind.  Lunch stop was a wise decision. S we approached the top of Mam Tor the wind was so strong people were holding on to each other to keep upright. This reminded me of a similar day a few years earlier in the very same place. It was a far cry from our last visit in August when we introduced our Granddaughter to hills.  Being a Norfolk girl she had never seen a decent hill before.  She was well impressed with the vistas from Mam Torr.

After leaving Mam Tor we made our way over the road heading towards the Limestone Way. From here I was walking towards Cave Dale past Peverill Castle and back in  to Castleton


Walking towards Cavedale

Cave Dale is a small but very pretty dale leading towards the rear of Peverill Castle. As its name suggests there are some small caves which can be sen as you walk through.


Cave Dale

A short walk of just over 8 miles, but it did allow time for a cup of tea in Castleton and a wander through the visitor centre.


Lake District

14 Nov

Just returned from a few days stay in Patterdale, Cumbria. When we arrived on Saturday 9 Nov, there was a  reasonable covering of snow on the tops of the higher fells.

Sunday was to be our first day walking, with a misty, low cloud start we set off for Whiteside.  The zigzag route was quite steep from Kepple Cove.  After reaching Whiteside we doubled back in thick low cloud to make our way on to Raise.



Looking north from Raise towards Ullswater

After lunch on Raise with rapidly clearing skies we set off for Stybarrow Dodd. A couple of Ravens called by in the search for a few crusts.


Mrs burhinus taking a well earned rest on Stybarrow Dodd and taking a few moments to enjoy the stunning scenery.


Pretty frozen snow shapes on grass.

From Stybarrow Dodd we began our return trek slowly descending but making our way towards Sheffield Pike.


Leaving Sheffield Pike and making our way towards the last Wainwright of the day, Glenridding Dodd.


Glenridding and Ullswater below

After a stiff descent we ended the day in the Travellers Rest.  The route down from Glenridding Dodd played havoc with my knee, but what a fantastic day.

On Monday with a very stiff and painful knee we set off for  Arnside Crag. We picked up our path behind the Patterdale Hotel and kept the Glaramara Park Wall to our right for most of the way up.  This was a very steep, slow haul up. We reached the summit just before 11am. Someone had placed a remembrance poppy on the small cairn so we stayed and took 2 minutes silence at 11, before moving off towards Trough Head. This was to be our crossing point to ascend Birks, our second and final Wainwright for the day.


Descending Birks

On Tuesday 12 November we opted for Place Fell, finishing with a return along the lakeside path. My knee was not going to allow too much today.  It was very cold with a cutting wind and we had to put on an extra layer on the top of Place Fell.  It took us two and a half hours to reach the top. The sun shone and we had fantastic views.  After a couple of nights of quite heavy rain the snow had gone.  

Three great days walking in one of the countries most beautiful areas.



Bank Holiday Monday

27 Aug

Started the day garden bird watching at home in west Suffolk from 06.20 to 09.00.

House Martin 3, Collared Dove 2m singing, Woodpigeon 1m singing plus 4 over, House Sparrow 5 in garden, Blue Tit 1 feeding in garden, Dunnock 1 feeding in garden, Blackbird 1 f drinking, Starling 3 adults and 3 juv feeding on fat balls, Swallow 6 over, Robin 1 feeding in garden, Jackdaw 1 flew over, Lesser Black-backed Gull 2 over, Greenfinch 1 calling fro  garden, Goldfinch 1 calling in garden.

Then set off for Stowmarket to pick up a friend on Rickinghall road a Kestrel was perched on a roadside pole.

Arrived at Sutton Hoo at 10.00 and had a brisk walk around the estate.

Chaffinch 4 around picnic tables, Jay 1 calling in woods, Magpie 2 in fields, Pied Wagtail 2 juvs on burial mounds. Mute Swan 2 seen on River Deben, 1 Cormorant flew over.

Over the Deben to Woodbridge from Sutton Hoo

It was then  off to Shingle street but there was a lot of disturbance on the sea, only had 1 juv Kestrel, Herring Gull 5, Meadow Pipit 3 Mute Swan 2, Starling 5 and 2 House Sparrow.

From here we drove to the Tide Mill in Woodbridge, 1 Cormorant flew along the river which held 8 Mallard, 3 Black-headed Gull and 4 Black-tailed Godwit.

Our next port of call was Aldeburgh were we walked along the beach and past the Moot Hall.

Aldeburgh Moot Hall


Alot of Herring Gulls waiting for the crowds to offer them scraps from fish and chips a few Black-headed Gulls and 2 juv Pied Wagatails.

It was home from here managing to see a Little Owl perched on a roadside pole in Clopton.

Bank Holiday Sunday

27 Aug

Started the day in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk at the towns first Food Festival. Not too bad for a first but they need a few more exhibitors.  On the way back noticed two Common Buzzard circling high over a wood near Great Barton.

From here we paid our first visit to the Walsham-le Willows Open Gardens weekend.  Wow this was seriously good and worth every penny of the £6.00 entrance.  34 gardens, and a free bus if you did not want to walk all through the village, plus several plant stalls and a couple of sites offering refreshments.  Some fabulous gardens and some fantastic houses and cottages.

Then it was back home to cut the hedge at the back of the garden and do a spot of garden birding.

Today’s sightings included:

Collared Dove 5, House Martin 12, we still have young in the nest.  House Sparrow 12, several sunning themselves in the hedge, Wren 1, Woodpigeon 8 flew over, Green Woodpecker 1 heard calling, Carrion Crow 1 heard calling, Chaffinch 1 flew over calling, Lesser Black-backed Gull 1 flew over, Greenfinch 3 flew over, Jackdaw 4 flying over calling, Goldfinch 3 flew over, Blackbird 1 adult male and 1 juvenile male around bird table, Grey Heron 1 flew over garden while I was hedge cutting.

Derwent Edge Hike

24 Aug

Walked 13 miles around Ladybower Reservoir last Sunday, including Derwent Edge.Image

Saw evidence of Meadow Pipits on the move. Two Ravens were seen as well as 6 Red Grouse. Although hot and stuffy it was a great day.  Ladybower was like a mill pond with great reflections.