Wednesday 8 February 2023

Newbourne Springs, A Suffolk Wildlife Trust Reserve

We had been wondering how long it would be until we saw our first bee of 2023. We didn't have to wait long for on 5 February we found this one drawing pollen from a bunch of catkins at SWT Newbourne Springs, and it wasn't the queen bumble I had been expecting. Look at those bulging pollen sacs. However, it seems that Hazel catkins do not rely on insects for pollination

We visit this reserve a few times each year. The photos below show some of the seasonal signs we noticed on our most recent visit. It isn't always the signs that take centre stage; there is little to beat the sound of the trickling stream!

The boardwalk is pretty narrow as it runs along the stream, which is fed by Newbourne Springs.

Signs of new life ...

... and ghostly reeds.
A land of sunshine and shadows.

At this point we veered away from the stream ...

... to an open grassy swathe, before heading back down ...

... to the stream again. This old reed reminded me of a sentinel Heron.

The Jay was at some distance, not far from a corrugated reptile shelter.

My thanks to David for his photo of the delicate female catkin in among ...

... larger male ones. The blue arrow points to the red females.

We may not have seen an actual Grey heron, but there was a Little Egret in the marsh.

Signs of Wild Arum in among the Snowdrops ...

... and our first Primrose of 2923!

More drifts of Snowdrops ...

... and more.

This bird was too high up for my zoom lens, but I think it is a Redwing.

Back to the starting point ...

Newbourne Springs used to supply water to Felixstowe.

Tuesday 7 February 2023

Spring Signs at Home and at Snape Maltings

Snape: Aconites and Snowdrops

Snape: Aconites

This small clump of Cyclamen taking over the delapidated decking at home

Our first 2023 Iris, probably Iris Reticulata

Snape, looking from the reedbeds to the Maltings

Snape: wonderful to see so many Avocets, albeit at a distance.

Stonechats, male and female

Snape, looking to Iken Church and Iken Cliffs on the right

The female Stonechat

Wing beats: two Mute Swans overhead

Snape: Iken Church through the rampike

And finally, back at base, a quick peep at the toad house. I so hope a toad finds it in the weeks to come.


Friday 3 February 2023

My Results: Butterfly Conservation Garden Butterfly Survey, 2022

One of last year's Comma butterflies. I love the proboscis!

I noticed on Twitter that early butterfly sightings are being recorded so it seemed the right moment to post my complete Garden Butterfly Survey (Butterfly Conservation) list of 371 butterflies for 2022. 

The list shows my total number of sightings (18 species in total) and the chart below it shows the top ten species seen each month:


It comes as little surprise that Small Whites were my most frequently recorded butterfly. The three Graylings and a single Clouded Yellow were garden firsts. 

I tend to jot down 'bonus' sightings as well in my notebook, and note that in addition to the butterflies listed, I saw several Hummingbird hawk-moths and a couple of Silver Ys. A passing shimmer of red could have been either a Cinnabar or a Burnet moth. 


“Garden Butterfly Survey (2022) by Butterfly Conservation supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, licensed under CC BY 4.0”. 

Wednesday 1 February 2023

A Welcome Visitor


I am not sure where I took this photograph of a Greenfinch, but it was some years ago and it was not in our garden. We had visits from these delightful birds when we moved to suburban Suffolk a decade ago, but with the increase in Trichomonosis, numbers dwindled until they no longer came at all. And then a single one appeared briefly on 6 February 2020, bringing a glimmer of hope.

In the wake of our RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, I said to David how good it would be to have Greenfinches again ... and (this to me sounds more like fantasy or fiction), lo and behold, when we looked, there was a Greenfinch, tucking into the peanuts outside our window. Of course, my camera was in another part of the house and the bird did not hang around for long, but never mind. 

Time to update my home-patch list and replenish our nut supply.