Showing posts from May, 2019

Just swanning about

Swans are beautiful birds, you can find them almost anywhere there is a river. In Layham, we are treated, most years, to at least one pair with a clutch of eggs, and a trail of cygnets in due course. This year being no exception. Most swans mate for life, with the odd exception. It gives them a higher chance of raising more young than `sleeping around`! Most of the time we see swans like this. Serenely gliding along ...  Other times looking for lunch! Swans living on fresh water will typically eat pond-weed, stonewort and wigeon grass, as well as tadpoles and insects such as milfoil.  Swans living on salt water will typically eat sea arrow grass, salt marsh grass, eel grass, club rush and green algae, as well as insects and molluscs. It`s best not to feed them bread as the mouldy leftovers can cause them problems.  I have read that this behavior is called `busking`. I am not convinced, as I thought that was when they lowered their head, thrus

Burnham Norton church and RSPB Titchwell

On our way from Wells to RSPB Titchwell, we stopped at the village Burnham Norton to have a look at the church of St Margaret. The church stands on a hilltop well south of the village it serves. In fact, it`s much closer to Burham Market than it is to Burnham Norton. St Margaret's boasts a round west tower, and there is debate over just how old the tower is. Traditional historians date it to the Saxon period, but more recent surveys suggest a date somewhere around AD 1090, some 4 decades after the Norman Conquest. It could very well be that the church is Norman, but built by a Saxon mason using traditional techniques. The oldest historic feature is a Norman font. The font is square, supported on a large central stem and four slender corner columns. It is comparatively plain; its sides are carved with blind arcading, chevron and diagonal crosshatch patterns, while the legs with chevrons, vertical stripes, and barley-twist style decoration. Unlike most Norman fonts, the

Rhododendrons at Sheringham Park

Sheringham Park is a landscape park and gardens near the town of Sheringham, Norfolk. The park surrounds Sheringham Hall, which is privately occupied, but the park is in the care of the National Trust and open to visitors. We had visited previously, but not at this time of year. The park was designed by Humphry Repton (1752-1818) widely regarded as the last great English landscape designer of the eighteenth century, and often regarded as the successor to Capability Brown In the Park there are fine mature woodlands and a large variety of rhododendrons and azaleas. Several overlook towers provide good views over the gardens, and of the nearby coast and surrounding countryside. Although the one we climbed to the top of gave us a view of - nothing! Wrong lookout!. The walks through the woods were lovely too, giving us an opportunity to see a Tree creeper, among other birds. A garden temple was constructed in the Park in 1975. The colours are truly stunning, and, on a c

Weird and Wonderful Wood - Haughley Park

Weird and Wonderful Wood is an annual event that we had intended to visit in the past, but somehow not managed to make it. Not so this year, as the whole family met in Haughley Park, Wetherden. The event showcases everything wood and includes craftsmen and women with every conceivable skill in wood. Amazing, is my summary of the day. A re-visit next year penciled in! Demonstrations included furniture making, musical instrument making, displays by traditional fletchers and bowyers (think Middle Ages). How on earth do they cut such intricate details with a chain saw! With lots of skill to be sure. Chain saw carving (could have watched for hours) A small mole having a look around.  Included also, wheel wright, hurdle making, wood turning, pole lathe turning, sign writing, labyrinth making, flute maker as well as coracle making and traditional gypsy caravan displays.  On top of which there was a wealth of excellent locally sourced and produced food and drink. A brill

A day at RSPB Minsmere

This is one of our favourite places to visit and so we were looking forward to today. After all, spring is here, and we should see something of interest? We did - and here are some of my efforts! In among the gorse, we were entertained by the family of Stonechats. Apparently, On heathland in the south of England, Dartford Warblers can often be seen following Stonechats around, perhaps catching the small insects that the larger bird disturbs. We were lucky / unlucky enough to see a Dartford Warbler flit past while we were photographing the Stonechats, but were not quick enough to get the picture! Two youngsters deciding who was to have the worm. Dunnock sitting on the gorse A Whitethroat, but the quality is rather poor due to the distance it was away from me. Although a common bird with a dubious reputation, the Magpie is a rather good looking bird, especially if you catch one in sunlight. A Redshank walking the edge of the Scrape

A walk to picturesque Dedham

Set by the River Stour, Dedham is in the heart of Constable Country. It was here that Britain's greatest landscape artist John Constable went to school. The attractive high street is lined with Georgian-fronted houses, old inns and a large art and crafts centre. The magnificent 15th C. church was built from the wealth of the medieval cloth industry. Dedham is frequently rated as containing some of England's most beautiful Lowland landscapes, particularly the Water Meadows of the River Stour, which passes along the northern boundary of the village forming the boundary between the counties of Essex and Suffolk.  So today we walked from Flatford, across these same meadows to Dedham. The view we had from just outside Dedham on this beautiful sunny, but cold, morning. Village signs always make me turn my head as they vary considerable, and some are just plain intriguing. I usually have to take the picture! As we approached the main street we walked past