Monday 30 January 2023

Lambs at NT Sutton Hoo, a Late Arrival to Our Feeders ... and Seasonal Signs at SWT Martlesham Wilds

Muntjac at Sutton Hoo (two of three spotted) ...

Lambs! In January! Sheer joy. And lapwings

The wobbly stage ...

Back in the garden ... this semi-regular turned up 24 hours after my count ...

Isn't he handsome?

Time for a bit of argy-bargy. Just look at the barring on the underwing.

Back at Martlesham Wilds ... the Barn Owl's view,

and the view looking in the opposite direction towards the River Deben.

Curlew, but all at quite a distance. Over 15 counted.

The humble, beautiful Daisy.

More snowdrops in Martlesham Churchyard

My first Aconite of 2023 ...

... and my first Crocus.


Saturday 28 January 2023

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2023


The first Robin

We settled down this morning with binoculars, mugs of coffee, a pen and a recording sheet to do our bird survey. 

It was a reasonable, fairly nondescript, January morning here in suburban Suffolk. Our bird feeder was hung about with fat-filled coconut, peanuts and sunflower hearts. 

As ever, one or two of the 'regulars' failed to put in an appearance, notably the Great spotted woodpecker, Goldfinches and Wren; but never mind.

We spotted twelve species in the hour, which we felt was encouraging but not brilliant. Sadly, we hardly ever see Chaffinches, Bullfinches or Greenfinches in the garden these days.  

These are our results:

  1. Blue tit - 8 
  2. Woodpigeon - 8 
  3. House sparrow - 3 
  4. Starling - 3 
  5. Blackbird - 2 
  6. Dunnock - 2 
  7. Great tit - 2 
  8. Robin - 2 
  9. Long-tailed tit - 1 
  10. Magpie - 1

We also saw a Jay (11.) and a Feral Pigeon (12.), though these species do not appear on the RSPB checklist.  

I wonder how your count went. Perhaps you are still hoping to do one. 

Blue tit, Starling, Great tit

Blue tits, head to head

The action!

More Blue tits




Monday 23 January 2023

Martlesham Wilds


We returned to Martlesham Wilds (near Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK) yesterday afternoon, hoping to catch another glimpse of the Barn Owl. However, there was no owl to be seen. 

Instead, we were greeted with a wonderful site (and arguably an even more evocative sound), in the form of a field of about 15 Curlew. You can probably make out five in the photo above. These birds were Red-listed back in 2015, so to find so many together was a cheering start to our stroll. 

As we got a further down the path that leads eventually to the River Deben (with the Sutton Hoo burial ground not far away on the opposite bank), the sound of birdsong up in the bare branches was unmissable; we stopped in our tracks for a minute or so just to listen. 



The photo above shows the path below the churchyard, with patches of ice on the water. 

Tree silhouettes, very much a part of the winter landscape in Suffolk

NT Sutton Hoo is on the far side and off the photo to the left

We were surprised to find quite a few (uneaten) rosehips

I love to be by the reeds, which always make me think of 'home'

One of four Moorhen we spotted, skating along the frozen stream

Winter by the stream

We returned via the churchyard ... and its Snowdrops

Suffolk Wildlife Trust are taking on much of this area as a new reserve, under the name of Martlesham Wilds. Funds are needed for the project, and so far about 25% of the target has been reached. 'Wilds' apparently is an old Suffolk term, and it will be fascinating to see the area live more and more up to its name as nature begins to take over from farmland as the project progresses.

Monday 16 January 2023

(Rather Late) New Year Observations

How wonderful to have my first Barn Owl encounter of the year before we have even (quite) reached the mid-point of January! It took place in what is to become an official Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve, not far from Woodbridge and Ipswich, known as Martlesham Wilds. 

We spent quite a while watching the owl as it quartered a large expanse of meadow. Every so often it was joined by a Kestrel, and at one point they had a bit of a ding-dong. 

We reached the lower levels via a footpath from St Mary's church, which we were visiting, as we always do at this time of year, to enjoy the snowdrops. We passed about eight fully open daffodils on our way home. It may still be winter (and with a broken boiler, it certainly feels icy), but there are already signs of warmer days ahead.


David checked the film on our Trailcam yesterday. There was no evidence of any further 'foxy' activity, just lots of feline visitors ... and this delightful mouse from way back in October. 
We had watched the Wren in the final photo some days ago, and wondered if it would show up as it only landed momentarily. We usually have a resident Wren, so we look forward to seeing it again. We also had an unrecorded visit from the local Sparrowhawk, who zoomed at a very low altitude over the garden one day last week. 

I wish you a wonderful wildlife year ... 
I must go now, and order some more bird food. And don't forget; BBC Winterwatch begins tomorrow (17th January).