Monday 14 November 2011

Marshland Habitat (2): From Dead Wood to Dunlin

We are greatly enjoying our exploration expeditions in Suffolk. The light was fading fast as we set off, but we were delighted to see so many Dunlin (albeit at some distance) out on the mere. I have never knowingly watched these birds before. Another first for me.

As I have mentioned in a previous post, the reedbed landscape is usually only punctuated by sails or church towers, windmills or ... dead trees.

These 'corpses' are apparently not the result of disease or strikes by lightning. Rather, they are reminders of the time when the old fields were flooded.

Particularly high tides breached the bank in this area near Snape back in 1953, creating a large area of mudflats. In days gone by, the barge sailors referred to one of the wide stretches of the river Alde as 'Troublesome Reach'. It is still possible to see withies - long wooden stakes used as markers - standing proud from the river bed, to guide the vessels along the deeper channels.

We saw most of our birds out on the water, but there were one or two rustles in the leaves overhead. This Great Tit was pretty camouflaged in the sunlit mosaic of turning autumn leaves.

We seem to have seen more Ladybirds than ever before this year. There were one or two Seven-spotted ones (Coccinella septempunctata) on the stinging nettles.

Saturday 12 November 2011

Seasonal Splash (3): Winter Colour ... and Windmills

Autumn colour at Framlingham ... a sign of things to come

We passed Saxtead Green Post Mill, dating from 1796. It ceased working commercially in 1947.

Aldeburgh Old Mill

We were at Aldeburgh for the Poetry Festival last weekend, where we saw another mill (above, right), straddling the high(er) ground between the shore and the marshland around the Alde estuary. I shall have to find out more about these buildings.   

P.S. It seems we are not the only ones to be seeing Ladybirds ...