Saturday 24 April 2021

Spot the Dragon and the Sutton Hoo Bluebells

I love bluebells, partly because blue is my favourite colour and there are not many flowers that have such an intensity of blue colouring, and partly because they remind me of nursery school visits to Kippington Meadow where we formed a circle and danced, singing 'In and out the dusty bluebells'. I wonder if any of you played this 'song-game' when you were also very young.  

We saw the bluebells in this post yesterday in the woods that form part of the Sutton Hoo estate. There was also plenty of Hawthorn blossom.

Sutton Hoo overlooks the river Deben and the town on Woodbridge. The tide was going out at speed. 

Here be dragons in the wood ...

... but what I didn't know until yesterday was that this dragon's name appears to be 'Spot'.   ;-)

There were one or two winged insects flitting about on the gorse. I wonder what the white sphere is at the top of the red arrow. I am guessing it may be an egg or perhaps pupa of some kind.  

Who knows if this impressive den, created with last year's bracken, was meant to resemble an ancient dwelling? 
I had wondered if the tiny pink flower below was a type of Storksbill. Perhaps I need to post it on iSpot. 

 * * *

Meanwhile, back in our Suffolk garden the Bee-flies have been making the most of our Dandelions and Honeybees have been busy gathering amber-gold pollen.


Friday 23 April 2021

The Return of the Insects: Ants and Wasps in Suffolk


I have been in the CEV Covid-19 category and in receipt of government letters so have hardly left the house for a year. However, I am now fully vaccinated and able to enjoy a little more of the world beyond my window. We took a trip to Sutton Hoo today to see the bluebells (ah, bluebells! how I missed them last year), and while we were there, encountered this tiny ant laboriously moving a large white bundle from one place to another over the scrubby heathland floor. The bundle looks a bit cocoon-like. We have posted David's photo (the top one) on iSpot, but do leave a comment if you know what is going on. 

The photos below were taken just up the road from Sutton Hoo at Sutton Heath. I am guessing the black insect with red abdominal stripes is a sand-wasp of some variety. I will add an ID if I can find one!

P.S. Update on the two Sutton Heath photos immediately above. 

Thanks to one of the kind people on iSpot I now know that this is a Black Banded Spider Wasp (Anoplius (Arachnophroctonus) viaticus). There is more information here. I love it when I see (what is to me) a new species; the sandy heathland here in Suffolk produces unusual surprises like this from time to time. 

Sunday 11 April 2021

Garden Trailcam ... and RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch Results

Not exactly 'wildlife', but we had fun uploading the Trailcam pictures today ... and finding these rather shifty bright eyes. We have actually seen the cat, which is grey and white, in the daylight now, but have no idea where it lives. 
It features again in the next photograph from the day before. 

This looks like one of the males, but 'Star', the female Blackbird with a white (leucistic?) mark, has also been strutting about. She seems to like the grassy path we made for my daily exercise during the first lockdown, when we stopped mowing what was then a lawn.


The photo above shows something at the tip of the arrow. I know because the next photograph, taken a couple of minutes later, shows a space here. Could it a be a rather round Blue tit? I know it's hard to tell, especially in terms of scale, though the planter is about 30cm high.

Speaking of Blue tits, the RSPB have released this year's figures for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. These are the the Top Ten 2021 species from the records that were submitted ...

Back at the start of February I recorded my survey results for our garden, which you can see here. It seems to me that the general picture (above), with the notable exception of House Sparrows, corresponds pretty closely with our own findings. We recorded the following nine species, all of which feature on the RSPB list. Birds were counted according to the maximum number of a given species seen in the garden at the same time, rather than sequentially over the hour.


1. Blue tit (2nd on national list)

2. Starling (3rd on national list)

3. Long-tailed tit (10th on national list)

4. Goldfinch (8th on national list)

5. Woodpigeon (also 5th on national list)

6. Blackbird (4th on national list)

7. Great tit (also 7th on national list)

8. Magpie (also 9th on national list)

9. Robin (6th on national list)


Happily, we are now having regular garden sightings of House Sparrows. I just hope the feline visitor gives them a chance.



Thursday 8 April 2021

Sparrows and a Dash of Spring Colour



We are thrilled to have Sparrows in the garden this year. A hedge was disturbed by some building work a few houses away, and I am guessing that the birds have moved up to a hedge a bit nearer our home. 

Easter in our part of Suffolk was pretty chilly this year. We had bits of sunshine (followed by a snowstorm two days ago), but the weather has been cold and blustery at times. Despite the fluctuating temperatures, we have been enjoying the spring bulbs and the bee-flies. I haven't seen a butterfly for days, but we have had some welcome colour in the garden ... such as these tulips. 

I think this is a Brown carder bee on the Dandelion.

Good to see (four) more 7-spot ladybirds

I couldn't resist showing a photo of this beautiful (and delicious) Easter gift in the form of a ginger biscuit sheep!

One of several Bee-flies

I wonder how long it will be before the next butterfly appears ... The chart below shows my sightings (or lack of them) for January, February and March 2021. The Butterfly Conservation Garden Butterfly Survey charts show the highest number of butterflies seen at one time, rather than how many were seen in total.