Monday 5 February 2024

Lowestoft Life - 29th January - 5th February 2024

With generally dull and windy weather I have spent the last week tackling other projects for the most part.  The gravel was all gone by the middle of the week leaving me with a basically blank canvas into which to landscape the pond but where to put all the soil that it will generate?

Now, Antony has had a ton pile of slate in his garden for at least 18 months with a view to building a dry stone wall into which he will cultivate ferns, mosses and the like but it will require back filling once completed. As such a cunning plan was hatched and on Wednesday we set about building said wall.  Neither of us had done anything like it before but five hours later we stood back and, to be honest, marvelled at what we had achieved. Hopefully the pond digging phase for my front garden will start in the coming days.

Some indoor projects on Thursday including wood cutting out the front and at the end of the day two superb garden ticks were added with a Little Egret and then a Great Northern Diver powering its way back towards the sea from the Oulton direction.  With 200 Wigeon and some Teal on the 29th and a Turnstone yesterday (4th) it has been a good few days for the garden tally!  I also managed to plant up some native trees behind the garage which I hope will get going soon.

A doctor taxi run on Friday saw the opportunity for a jaunt afterwards to Filby Broad but it was absolutely howling and the light was rubbish but amazingly our diligence paid off and the pair of Ferruginous Ducks were found tucked in the closest corner.  Antony was very pleased to have at last seen this species.

Marsh Tits called as we walked back and a walk out the other way into Ormseby Little Broad added Red Admiral, Great White Egret and a female Goosander while a circuit from Rugg’s Lane was at the least refreshing in the wind although somewhat lacking in wildlife sightings although there was much evidence of Red Deer tracking through the fields and wet woodland.  A male Marsh Harrier was using the wind to its full advantage. With the wind not letting up we abandoned the idea of St Benet’s Abbey and headed back.

Great White Egret

Feeding marks from molluscs - I bet if I came back at night there would be Tree Slugs radulating!

More garden time over the weekend revealed a few plump Steatoda nobilis while sorting out the stack of flower pots and after countless years in a pot the Monkey Puzzle is at long last in the ground.  The sunset yesterday was wonderful.

Monkey Puzzle between the rotting Leylandii stumps and the first pondlet with some Marsh Sow Thistle already in place

Coming along

Steatoda nobilis - a very plum-black one

Steatoda nobilis

And so to today.  The two young male White-tailed Eagles lured me to Mickle Mere SWT after an early breakfast but it was not to be and neither had been seen since early the previous morning and would seem to have moved on.  Not that I could get into the hide which was packed shoulder to shoulder with lenses so I did not linger long and drove the local lanes checking around some of the other arable areas in which they had been seen but only found a few Red-legged Partridges and two probably very relieved Red Kites.  Several fields were liberally scattered with Fieldfares.

I opted for a fluid journey home and randomly turned off and firstly followed a brown sign to  Knettishall Heath SWT and enjoyed an hour figure of eight circuit that took me through the heath.   Despite the wind I thought that I could hear Woodlark out on the heath and was delighted to find two quite obliging pairs politely but very vocally sorting out territorial boundaries with strident calls and some intermittent singing.  They all had particularly perky crests when on the ground.


Mistle Thrush and Robin song cut through the wind and once back in the Birches I picked up a couple of Marsh Tits, Long-tails and Goldcrests and three single Yellowhammers flew over calling.  I cut down to the Little Ouse which looked great for Otters but two Mallard is all that I found.  Burdock and Reedmace were ‘ticked off’ with their respective moth early stages and hopefully the bendy Alder ‘flowers’ that I found with an exit hole can be identified to moth host species.

Limnaecia phragmitella

A Grey Wagtail bounded over and a flock of 30 agile Siskin decked out in green and gold dangled at curious angles from the Alders. It was good to have some at eye level for a change.  


The route back through the trees saw the Exmoor Ponies idling across the path but they seemed very chilled and let me by with nothing but some expressive yawning.

A flock of Redwings were foraging in the leaf litter with a selection of Tits and a single Nuthatch while Great Spotted Woodpecker was half-heartedly drumming.


On again and at the junction with the A1066 at Riddlesworth I managed to pull over to take some hasty shots of a wonderful carpet of Winter Aconites and Snowdrops. They would have glowed if the sun had been out.

A little further down the road an adult female Marsh Harrier was a surprise roadside bird in arable farmland but as I then pulled off to go down to Reedham and Lopham Fen SWT perhaps it was not quite to unexpected.  I do not remember ever visiting here before (although my Dad says I have!) and enjoyed a mile circuit of the Red Spider Trail.  It was quiet and blowy but I will be back to look for the mighty Fen Raft Spiders at some stage.  Marsh Tits were vocal here too and a female Kestrel watched me with interest. 

And if anyone had any ideas what gall this is please let me know.  I am not sure what dead stem it was attached too by possibly a Great Willowherb?

Lunch beckoned.


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