Monday, 14 January 2019

Signs of Spring ... Snowdrops in Suffolk

Snowdrops, Martlesham, January 2018
It was a dull windy afternoon, so we went to Martlesham (on the other side of the Deben from Sutton Hoo) in search of signs of spring. St Mary's churchyard will soon be awash with yellow and purple Crocus flowers, but we were hoping to see Snowdrops, our first Snowdrops of the year.

 The church sits above Martlesham Creek ...

... and, sure enough, there were a few early drifts of Snowdrops for us to enjoy.

 Some were still in bud,

 ... while others were in bloom.

I noticed one early Crocus flower ...

There were a few Holly berries, adding a splash of brightness to the hedge.

We peeped inside the church just before it was locked, and saw a wall painting (St Christopher bearing the Christ-Child) ...

 ... and some beautiful panes of stained glass. I particularly liked the sheep faces.

1903 stained glass by Walter Pearce, the Good Shepherd

I was delighted to see my first Daisy of 2019: may there be many more!

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Shingle Street, a Wild Stretch of Suffolk Coast

I always enjoy a visit to Shingle Street, which can feel a very exposed part of the coast. Today we encountered surprisingly blue skies and calm sea conditions. There was very little wind despite the cool temperature. The rivers Ore and Alde (from which Aldeburgh gets its names) reach the sea here. There are currents and sandbanks. I always like to look out for this buoy, and on windy days you can hear its bell ringing. There was no sign of the green buoy this afternoon.

 We have often watched Common Seals, but there were none in evidence today.

There were, however, good numbers of Cormorant.

The light changes constantly and at times the view can seem quite surreal. 

Birds are continually on the move. 

I love the progression in the photo below from scrubby grass to watercourse to shingle to (sea which is hidden from view, then on to) sand, to sea and finally to a wide expanse of East Anglian sky. 

Shadows are very evocative in the low light at this time of year.

Nobody knows how much longer the Orford Ness lighthouse will withstand the battering of tides...

... but for now it stands as a poignant and cherished beacon, a monument to a former age.

Reeds are an iconic part...

...of this desolate landscape.

They give way to a low-lying field of sheep and a church tower. 

Shingle Street is a terrific spot for wildlife. Pipits can often be seen, along with waders like the Redshank below. 

I suspect the lichen (if this is what it is) in the photo below bears testament to the pure air.

The shell below belonged to a Slipper Limpet. 

By 3 p.m. the light was fading fast...

 We took a last look at the buoy...

... and the gulp of Cormorants (there were many more in the sky by this time, probably heading for the marshes at Trimley). 

 The sparkle of sunlight on reeds was utterly irresistible!

We checked the mudflats in case there was anything unusual lurking in the shallows...

and David walked a bit further along the bank...

...before we turned for home with the call of the Redshank ringing in our ears.

Some of you may be acquainted with Blake Morrison's collection, Shingle Street (published by Chatto & Windus). Carol Rumens reviewed it here for The Guardian and Observer online. 

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Seasonal Visits to the Suffolk Coast

Crow at Felixstowe
A very happy new year to all ...

and here are a few sea snaps taken along the Suffolk coast over the last couple of weeks. 

Pier Parade, Felixstowe
The beach at beautiful Bawdsey

Common Whelk eggcase, I think, found at Bawdsey (I always thought these were Skate egg cases...)
Cuttlefish cuttlebone, Bawdsey

Catshark eggcase, I think, found at Bawdsey

Dried-up Catshark eggcase, I think, found at Felixstowe
Whelk shell, Felixstowe
Beach huts, Southwold

Pebble assortment

I wonder which sort of weed, Southwold

Turnstone, Southwold

Southwold, sunset light


Have a Wild and Wonderful New Year!