Early Purple Orchids in all their glory, 25 April 2019

I ventured down into darkest Suffolk today to check out a population of Early Purple Orchids I've not seen before. I found them in the ancient woodland rather easily and wow, there were big numbers. But the most interesting aspect of this population is the variety. I'm used to seeing fairly standard purple ones but these were something else! A huge variety of weird and wonderful specimens. I'll let the photos below do the talking. Into the bargain there we plenty of Oxlips, Wood Anenomes, Early Dog Violets, Greater Stitchwort and a couple of what I'm pretty sure are Spanish Bluebells. Birdwise a Garden Warbler was my first of the year and I also had Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Nuthatch and Mistle Thrush.

On the way home I popped into Mellis Common where the Green-winged Orchids are struggling in this late spring. I found just single figures and all were pretty stunted.

Early Purple Orchids

Spanish Bluebell


Greater Stitchwort

  Green-winged Orchids

Iberian Chiffchaff in Lowestoft, 22 April 2019

Despite feeling rather rough I dragged myself out to Lowestoft late morning for this little pyllosc. The bank holiday traffic was surprisingly light through Oulton Broad and I was quickly parking up by the Denes Oval. And while still by the seawall I could hear the Iberian Chiffchaff singing even though it was on the inland side of the oval! A great find by Rob Wilton it showed very nicely on and off in sycamores and was singing almost constantly. After I'd had my fill I wandered into the scrub on North Denes where a singing Common Whitethroat was my first of the year and a Dock Bug was a new shieldbug sp for me.

Iberian Chiffchaff

Common Whitethroat

 Dock Bug

With time on my side I opted to make a detour on the way home and spend some time at Herringfleet Marshes. It was a lovely relaxed sunny couple of hours with a fly-over Yellow Wagtail, plenty of singing Sedge Warblers, more Reed Buntings than I've ever seen (c40!), Greenshank and Green Sandpiper all south of the mill. Walking further north past the mill I found the long-staying Green-winged Teal plus a Water Pipit and a Reed Warbler was singing.

Easter wildflowers, 20 April 2019

Yesterday was spent packing for our move so we thought we deserved a day out today!

I'd kindly been given directions to the weird and wonderful Purple Toothwort at Bowthorpe on the edge of Norwich so it was there we headed first. After finding the right place I spotted them from a distance and closer inspection revealed their true weirdness! A Lesser Whitethroat burst into song there too, my first of the year.

 Purple Toothwort

Next we headed for our main location for the day - Natural Surroundings at Glandford. But on the way up the Holt road we got a little distracted and ended up having a rather nice lunch in the cafe in Heydon!

Eventually we got to Natural Surroundings and spent a lovely couple of hours there just mooching about. Obviously we headed for my target sp here first and down by the River Glaven quickly found a few plants of Moschatel, also known as Town Hall Clock because of it having flowers on each face of the flower head. This is a plant I'd been wanting to see for a while so it was a nice moment. Around the place I also identified Stinking Hellebore, Water Avens, Bogbean and Bird Cherry amongst the more common species. Butterflies were represented by Green-veined Whites, Orange Tips, Speckled Wood, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell.


Bird Cherry


Green-veined White

Orange Tip

Stinking Hellebore

Water Avens

Whitlingham and Thorpe Marshes, 18 April 2019

I began at Whitlingham for a little pre-Easter birding as I imagine this place will be rammed over the bank holiday weekend.

At the eastern end of Great Broad a lovely 4 Arctic Terns were fishing and with my main quarry already sorted I drove round to Bungalow Lane for a good walk around the whole of Thorpe Marshes. For my troubles a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling away in the middle of the marsh at the Bungalow Lane end and around the reserve I counted 7 Sedge Warblers, 6 Cetti's Warblers and 1 Willow Warbler plus the wintering group of 4 Goldeneye, 3 Common Buzzards and a displaying Sparrowhawk.

Back at Whitlingham in the late afternoon the Arctic Terns has been replaced by 6 Little Gulls (5 adults and 1 1st summer) and a few Common Terns.

At home in the evening I then invited myself over to my friend Ally's house at Shelton Green where she had 6 Morels growing in a secluded corner of her garden - a bonus fungi tick! 

Cetti's Warbler

Sedge Warbler

Little Gulls




Marsh Marigold