Caving wasps

We had a walk followed by an ice cream today at a super garden nursery that specialises in olive trees called the Olive Grove near Barnwell Northants. It is a great place to visit.

They have some lovely apple trees which were loaded with fantastic crops.

The wasps had taken advantage and had formed an ‘apple cave ‘ with in and out doorways. They were feasting on the sweet pulp. We could actually here them eating.

There were several wasps inside coming and going through the front and back doors they had created.

It was a fascinating activity to spend time watching.

September change

There is a different feel in the air this morning as September arrives. A walk early had a chill . The plants and trees are finished with their growth and seeds are set .

The pinks of willow herb and faded thistles alongside white trumpets of bindweed are the main flowers left.

Damselflies were still flitting about in the undergrowth around the lake edges.

Butterflies are flying , red admirals are still in high numbers and large whites .

The flies were emerald like in the sun.

There is a constant noise of grasshoppers and crickets but they were too well hidden.

Looking forward to Autumn as the season moves on .

Great Egret and Heron

We are learning how to film using a smart phone through a spotter scope. It is amazing watching birds from across a lake , they just go about their business . It’s wonderful.

The first film is a great Egret at Summer Leys near Wellingborough in a breeze.

I had watched this beautiful bird walk through the shallows and do a spot of fishing before it sat in this flowery bank to preen.

It wasn’t alone in this flowery area, there were plenty of geese .

There were also lots of lapwings ,these are a favourite of mine. Summer Leys reserve is interesting with a number of habitats to explore.

Today at Rushden Lakes not far from Summer Leys we filmed a heron . From the lake shore it was only just visible , through the spotter scope we could watch it’s leg stretching antics with ease.

With practice the spotter scope will open up new finds.

Norfolk finds

We did not find many fossils on this trip but there were plenty of things to see. The flints alone are varied interesting and at times bizarre.

We were hoping to find mammoth teeth and deer antlers as well as sea urchins . A trip after winter storms is needed to have some wow finds I think.

Here are the tables – West Runton

And East Runton

We had some fun imagining that this interesting stone was actually a fossilised turtle head , always good to keep the imagination going !

The colours on these beaches were amazing either in the flints or the decaying bolts and sea defences.

Strumpshaw Fen Exploring

Close to Norwich , Strumpshaw Fen is an area definitely worth exploring. It is an RSPB reserve and has lots to see.

There are marked trails,woodland,meadow and fen with a wide variety of habitats. There is obviously plenty of open water again varied, large pools and lakes surrounded by reeds, small ditches and ponds and the river Yare runs along one side.

We went today in hope of glimpsing a swallowtail butterfly knowing it was late in the year. We were rewarded with one sighting but it was too quick to photograph. We only had the phone with us.There were plenty if other butterflies especially red admirals and painted ladies. It was sunny and they were enjoying the nectar in the buddleias.

We had a number of lovely encounters on this fenland walk . We saw a tiny lizard, the man at reception told us that on the sandy walk which was marked on the useful map we were given , on a sunny day up to sixteen lizards had been seen sunning themselves together. He recommended June for the swallowtails and mentioned that they had been all over the wild flower garden at the reserve entrance. We also enjoyed watching a perfect swan rest in a tiny watery inlet.

There are fantastic birds to be seen at this reserve and we will definitely be back with the proper kit to photograph them. We climbed up into the tower hide and watched a great egret and numerous herons on a large area of open water.

Dragonflies and damselflies were everywhere, there were some very large dragonflies , earlier in the year I’m sure there would have been huge numbers . Another reason to visit again !

Walking with the River Yare on our right it was amazing to see trees laden with apples, crab apples, hazel nuts, elderberries , rowan berries as well as blackberries and wonderful hops everywhere climbing through bushes and up trees . It was a wild larder.

A walk on the boardwalk gave us a great experience of the fen and the reeds.

This was a fascinating area to explore and one to come back to at different times of the year and equipped with a great camera .

Fossil Hunting in Norfolk

A day of fossil hunting, on the look out for mammoth teeth and deer antlers as well as Sea urchins and other treasures. Alas we did not find these but had a fantastic time exploring West Runton and East Runton.

We did find some fossils, belemnites , shells and sponges along with some fantastic ‘lucky stones’! The flints on the beaches are wonderful and in the rock pools home to winkles and limpets.

At West Runton we swam in the sea which was clear , our only company were the young gulls and the cormorants sitting in a stone bank.

The cliffs are very soft and in East Runton the chalk can be seen but unfortunately no mammoth teeth.

Cromer is just up the coast with it’s Victorian pier which can be seen stretching out into the sea. There are rows of wind turbines far out to sea. Huge container ships were travelling in front of the white sails of the turbines.

Cromer is famous for its crab, we discovered lots of hermit crabs in the rock pools and plenty of crab evidence along the beach.A brilliant day exploring more !

August Garden show

I have been planning and thinking hard this year to plant more flowers and plants for insects especially bees and butterflies and moths. My garden has always been full of flowers but has been very green in August with its floral peak being June.

I am really pleased that at the end of August the colour and flowers along with the insects and wildlife are really going for it !

Here is a guided tour of flowery delight on offer to the wildlife !

Sweet peas, this year a huge success I am collecting the seed for next year. The scent is fantastic.

Nicotiana of all types the huge white ones smell divine. Aphids love them !!

The tall verbena and amazing hollyhocks are smothered in bees, bumble and honey

It’s good to have flowers with different shapes and structures to attract a wide range of visitors and pollinators.

Exotic cannas at the top and cottage garden favourites such as roses and foxgloves grow side by side and offer plenty of choice.

In the centre of the garden we have a large olive tree which attracts lots of 🐝 on the small flowers ,pollination complete . This year we have olives galore !!

I am planning next years plants and flowers with wildlife ( and beauty ) in mind hopefully collecting lots of seed and growing them ourselves.

Cormorants in the sun

A trip to Rutland Water today to the birdwatching centre was very warm but full of wonderful birds

We have recently bought a spotter scope and today have bought an attachment to mount the phone on the eyepiece to take photos.

This was an experimental outing to test out the kit. It was great fun as it is possible to see so much more.

The cormorants were fantastic.In the lagoon they were sat on of every available post and branch. I loved this tree decorated in cormorants.

This was in the centre of the lagoon and the birds were constantly flying in and out of the branches.

Standing on top of two posts these two cormorants seemed to be counting cygnets as they swam by.

It was so hot that the cormorants on the sand bar were flapping their throats with beaks open to cool down . I used the scope to video this and love it .

There were Great white egrets along the far banks of the lagoon which were wonderful to watch fishing and plenty of ducks,coots and geese. The Ospreys can be seen at this location but we didn’t see any today.

I’m really excited at the fantastic new wildlife we can spot and record now. Watch this space !


After the rain

Thursday night dropped plenty of heavy rain and waking up the sky was grey and the air damp . We decided that although it threatened more a walk was in order.

Raincoats packed and proper shoes laced up off we set. On arrival at the lakes the sky was blue , the air warm and coats were abandoned.

The rain has perked up the trees and plants and everywhere was looking fresh.

In a ten pace stretch there were 10 or more slugs gliding across the paths repeated around the whole loop.

The lakes look full and clear , the mats of weeds are far less, the vegetation along the banks is lush and buzzing with life.

The swans have made a highway through some weed and were gathered together , the swan with the damaged wing we have watched for over a year seems healthy and fine

I love the snails especially after a rainy night they are everywhere, up trees , on fences, up plant stems , on every surface.

I thought these two were deep in conversation about the day !