Saturday, 18 February 2017

Spring sunshine, flowers and insects at NT Ickworth (still too early for lambs...)

The Rotunda

We visited NT Ickworth for the first time this season, hoping to see some early colour in the spring sunshine. The Aconites and Snowdrops were at their best.


Nuthatch - you can just about make it out...
We saw our first Nuthatch of 2017, high, high up in one of the trees. We have seen Nuthatch and Treecreeper here on previous visits, so we knew where to look.

The next three Nuthatch photos were taken here last year: I am re-posting them just to give a better idea of colour and shape. These are such fine birds.




The lovely photo below was taken by David this afternoon...


... while I spotted this branch of early blossom.


There were plenty of catkins on the trees...


... and tiny clumps of a plant that I had assumed was a form of miniature Comfrey or Lungwort, but I suspect it is something else altogether. Any ideas, please? I feel the black spots on the leaves ought to provide a clue.


We saw one Great-spotted Woodpecker in flight and heard drumming in the wood. The hole below, taken with a zoom lens, was high up on a trunk. I'm still wondering what is inside... 


You can see the snaking path of Snowdrops and Aconites. We were looking for the Woodpecker...


The spring flowers were magnificent...


... in their clumps and swathes.


We were particularly surprised to see several bees hard at work in the Aconites.


They were not the only ones who had been beavering away. The wood sculpture took us by surprise as it is a new feature, and as yet an unfinished one.


We found this board, telling us more about it.


The sculpture was well done, but I was not entirely sure that I  felt it fitted the ambience of this otherwise unadorned woodland walk.


This bee in the photo above has evidently 'bagged' a good amount of pollen. I wonder if these bees are from a local hive.

My thanks to David for the photo below...



And finally, what mammals did we see (apart from the sheep who are expected to produce over 1000 lambs in the coming weeks)? Well, two Grey Squirrels... and deer, or at least these rather fun recycled log-and-stick deer, egged on by a pair of log-snowmen!



We made a couple of purchases at the secondhand bookstall before leaving Ickworth in the glow of late afternoon sunshine, rejoicing in the knowledge that longer lighter evenings lie ahead of us.


4 comments:

Conehead54 said...

It is a comfrey- Symphytum grandiflorum.

Ragged Robin said...

A lovely post with great photos - wonderful to see the Snowdrops and Aconites :) Not sure about the mystery plant - looks like Lungwort to me but leaves are usually spotted with white not black! I do wish Ickworth was closer to us as I would so love to visit.

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you both for your comments. I hadn't realised that Creeping Comfrey could be seen flowering so early.

Lowcarb team member said...

Oh what a lovely day I've had ... thanks for all your photo's.
A great visit and I quite liked the wood sculpture, certainly different!

All the best Jan