Monday, 15 May 2023

Damselflies at Last



We seem to be entering 'damselfly season' at long last in my corner of Suffolk, UK. We spotted several Large Red Damselflies and one or two others in the grounds at Helmingham Hall. 


Helmingham Hall and moat

Not a Large Red ...

... but very well camouflaged.

Alder fly

I only see these strange flies with their veined wings on rare occasions, usually in watery locations, and I usually have to remind myself what they are. 

Bridge and parkland beyond


We don't see Wagtails (of any variety) very often in our neck of the woods so it was a particular joy to see these two.


The warm temperatures we experienced from time to time over the weekend made us feel that at last we were entering a late phase of spring. Today the heat has gone out of the sun once again, and although the sky has patches of blue, there is still a chilly northerly wind. It was a joy to see practically our first damsels of the year, but we had to look very hard to count a total of six butterflies at Helmingham, all skittish Orange Tips.

Friday, 5 May 2023

Amphibian Joy


We had both had our suspicions that a frog was living in our mini-pond. I thought I saw small dark head in the middle of the (rather overgrown) oxygenating pondweed last Saturday and David saw something 'flip' the following day. 

We had a colossal thunderstorm with downpour this morning after a long-awaited hour or so of relatively warm sunshine. We took a quick look around the garden this afternoon, just ten minutes ago, and lo and behold, there was the frog! We are so thrilled and excited, the more so since I have been on the look-out for frogspawn for weeks, and have failed to see the slightest sign. 

Two days ago we had three Starlings splashing in our adjoining mini-pond and making quite a to-do. It's lovely to have them but I hope the frog can cope with their capers. 

Watch this space ... and do consider adding a mini-pond if you have an empty corner.


Postscript: the Fairy Longhorn moths are back ... Imagine having those antennae!



Saturday, 22 April 2023

Caught on Camera: Mainly the Hedgehog


We are so thrilled to be having regular hedgehog visits to our suburban garden once again. We guess it is the same hedgie who comes most evenings. A couple of nights ago, its visit coincided with loud screeches from the Tawny in the wood. 


It seems the hedgehog is finding some good-sized snails ...

The photo below shows one of the other visitors ...



... Above: close-up of the mouse. 

And below: not on the trailcam, but who could resist this Robin?


Saturday, 15 April 2023

A Sunny Afternoon

The weather forecast indicated that the Felixstowe area might be in for a sunny afternoon, so we headed off to Landguard to see what was about on the beach and in the adjoining nature reserve. We were delighted to see Wheatears on the clipped turf; David counted eight at one point. 

There were a few rabbits, grazing away in the spring warmth. We encountered the remains of an Easter Bunny trail (see 'Daffodil' below) in the nature reserve, with rabbit information boards for those taking part in the hunt. 

We came home and put up the garden table for the first time this year, and sat among the tulips, sipping our mugs of tea and listening to the sound of birdsong. 


Wednesday, 5 April 2023

Today's (Welcome/Unwelcome) Garden Guest

Pictures: David Gill

This is the first time I have seen a Sparrowhawk in the grass. We have occasional visits, but the bird usually perches on a fence or branch and sometimes simply swoops across the garden.

I suspect Chris Packham would be pleased to host such a bird ... but with our regular company of Long-tailed tits, Blackcaps (two male, one female), Blue tits, Great tits, Wren (just the one), Dunnocks and Robins, I am not sure what I think about having a bird of prey so close to our fatball feeders and patio door. Does anyone know if this is unusual behaviour for this species of raptor? 

Monday, 3 April 2023

Newbourne Springs, Suffolk Wildlife Trust Reserve


Not the best photograph of a Peacock butterfly, but what a surprise after the last few days of grey skies and chilly temperatures! This afternoon we saw:

  • 1 female Brimstone, too quick to photograph
  • 5 Peacock butterflies
  • 11 Comma butterflies
  • 2 Bee-flies 
  • In excess of 15 7-spot Ladybirds, including one outside our house

We were not expecting Newbourne Springs to produce such riches in a couple of hours, if that; but how wonderful, at last, to feel that the insect seasons are underway. 

The photos below are a bit of a mixed bag, but I hope they give an impression of the seasonal sights we enjoyed.  

Wild Arum

We watched this bee climb into the undergrowth

Wonderful blossom


Seasonal first: Peacock butterfly

Lesser Celandine

Seasonal First: Comma butterfly

7-spot Ladybird (this top one outside our house)


Two more 7-spots

I love the feathery reflection!

Another Comma

And another 7-spot ...

... perhaps laying an egg?

Bee fly, one of two seen this afternoon


Primroses above the stream


Hard to resist a ripple over the sandy stream bed

?Greater Stitchwort


Wild strawberry flowers

The stream at Newbourne Springs

Back to the house, where our spring bulbs are adding a splash of colour.