Saturday, 29 December 2012

A Good Walk

How is it that nearly 6 months have gone since I last posted to my blog?  Lots has happened, not least that I am now living permanently in Suffolk.  I still have a base in Norfolk but visiting is restricted even more now as I am working full time.

Anyway, after all the excesses of Christmas, I felt in need of a good walk this afternoon, even though the weather was not particularly promising.

I walked down the lane to the river wall, and then headed upstream.  The tide was falling but not a lot to see on the mud.  A large flock of golden plover was put up by a small launch, the only boat seen moving on the river.  The Brent geese seem to be down in numbers this year, less than 500 on the fields today, some making the most of the flooded areas for a good wash.

View over the flooded fields towards the Ferry

I took shelter from the strong wind by walking on the narrow strip of salt marsh on the far side of the seawall.  I disturbed a small bird which looked dark enough to be a rock pipit, but although I sat down and waited it didn't return.  Further along were 4 turnstones and a little egret.

By the R Deben looking upstream.

I walked as far as the jetty used by windsurfers in the summer, then turned for home.  I followed the track behind the bank to keep out of the wind as much as possible, and was rewarded with the sound of bearded tits calling and a brief glimpse of one in flight over the reeds lining the dyke. 

I'd had a good walk, and although I had a head wind it was very mild, and by the time I got back the hat and gloves had come off, so hopefully burned a few calories. 

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Newbourne Springs, Suffolk

Sunday 10th June 2012, 2-4pm
A walk around Newbourne Springs

Weather, overcast after a sunny start to the day

Bird highlights:
Song thrush, blackcap, nightingale -  all in full song
Many chiff-chaffs calling
A family party of blue tits, youngsters being fed
Great-spotted woodpecker calling

The meadow area was ungrazed and awash with Ragged Robin in full flower.  I have never seen such a good display before - full of bees.  At least one Common-spotted Orchid in bloom, probably a lot more not visible from the path. 

Tree bumble, B hypnorum, seen on newly opened bramble flowers.

New bees in the garden

My house in Swaffham has cavity walls, and when I had a new bathroon suite installed a couple of years ago an overflow pipe was removed, leaving a small hole allowing access to the cavity.  Last year it was used as a nesting site by a pair of blue tits, but this year it has been taken over by the hole nesting Tree Bumblebee, Bombus hypnorum.  These bees have been very active, collecting pollen in the garden and taking it back to the nest.  On warm days one or two bees station themselves at the entrance to the hole fanning their wings to increase ventilation.

Bombus hypnorum

B hypnorum was first reported in the UK in 2001, and has now established itself over most of the country.  They are distinctive little bees, with white tails and a rusty brown thorax.  They regularly form colonies above the ground, using various holes in trees, buildings, and often use bird nest boxes.  An useful information sheet can be found here:

It is the first time I have seen these bees in Swaffham, but have since also identified them down in Suffolk.