The Grand Tour begins...

Tomorrow we set off on a 4-week grand tour in our motorhome. Our route takes us up to the West Highlands via Cumbria and then over to Northern Ireland. Here we plan to make or way up the Antrim coast as far as Derry where we then strike south into Sligo and then the botanical heaven of The Burren. From there we explore Kerry and Cork in the south west before winding our way along the south coast to Rosslare and the ferry back to Fishguard. A couple of days in south Wales finishes the trip before we head for home.

Along the route we have a mixture of 'wild' camping and pre-booked sites and a variety of touristy and nature-related activities.

Wish Belinda luck being cooped up with me for a month! 

Drayton Drewray, Booton Common and Horstead, 3 May 2022

I had a rendezvous in Horstead with Louis Parkerson yesterday so he could show me some bits around his patch. Before that though I had a couple of things I wanted to look for. 

Firstly, Eared Willow in Drayton Drewray which I failed to find despite much searching. Going there did have it's benefits though as I found my first ever Bog Stitchwort in some damp areas as well as Tutsan and Pendulous Sedge.

Secondly, Alder Buckthorn at Booton Common which I also failed with! Again though, as is often the case with botany, I found some other goodies. Most noticably Large Bittercress which ironically was one of the things Louis was going to show me later! Also there I found Marsh Valerian, Cuckooflower, Glaucous Sedge and Red Currant while sploshing about.

I met Louis by Horstead church and we walked the wet area behind the church, nearby verges and the pond by the Frettenham Road. Large Bittercress was seen (again) plus Norway Maple, a strange naturalised laurel sp that seems to be Azores Laurel while a Cetti's Warbler sang a couple of brief snatches. Along the roadsides a curious bushy patch of Spotted Medick with really big leaves was thought to be the 'Giant' Spotted Medick cultivar (good homework by Louis!) and we also had Hoary Cress, Caucasian Stonecrop, Barley (!), Rough Chervil and Bur Chervil before we went to the pond. Here I was shown the distinctive Tufted Sedge and while there spotted the colourful Common Malachite Beetle on a some Lesser Pond Sedge

My grateful thanks to Louis for giving up his time. 

                                                                                                                                         Bog Stitchwort
                                                                                                                                   Large Bittercress
                                                                                                                                     Glaucous Sedge
                                                                                                                                         Red Currant
                                                                                                                             probable Azores Laurel
                                                                                                                                         Hoary Cress
                                                                                                                                 Norway Maple
                                                                                                                                       Tufted Sedge
                                                                                                                                 Caucasian Stonecrop

                                                                                                                        Common Malachite Beetle

Roydon Fen, 2 May 2022

A quick bank holiday walk around Roydon Fen near Diss before some holiday shopping in the town.

It was pleasantly mozzie-free even in the woods and the circuit revealed a few bits and bobs. The best was probably the rather good looking Rustic Sailor Beetle, Cantharis rustica found while bending down to inspect some Wild Clary. I also found the large and impressive Pendulous Sedge along the northern perimeter together with huge numbers of Cuckooflower and Garlic Mustard plus both Goat and White Willows

                                                                                                                              Rustic Sailor Beetle
                                                                                                                                      Wild Clary

                                                                                                                                 Pendulous Sedge

A walk in the Waveney Valley from Homersfield, 1 May 2022

A lovely Mayday walk in one of our favourite sections of the Waveney Valley. 

Starting and finishing by the bridge in Homersfield we ventured along the valley to Target Hill near Mendham and then returned along the lane. Recording 6 species of warbler including my first Lesser Whitethroats (3) and Garden Warbler of the year plus House Martin at last. 

I stopped to photograph some Greater Chickweed and spotted a small beetle that turned out to be a Yellow-patched Dung Beetle. The other insect of interests were a faded Tawny Minging Bee on Target Hill and loads of St Mark's Flies.

Other plants of note were numerous Yellow Archangel, carpets of Wild Garlic and Bluebells plus Bur Chervil, Round-leaved Cranesbill, Hedgerow Cranesbill, Bugle, Bird's Foot, Thyme-leaved Speedwell, Gemander Speedwell and strangely Broad Bean on a verge which was obviously a relic of past cultivation.

                                                                                                                    Yellow-patched Dung Beetle
                                                                                                                                 Greater Chickweed

                                                                                                                                       Wild Garlic
                                                                                                                                     Bird's Foot
                                                                                                                              Tawny Mining Bee
                                                                                                                                      Bur Chervil
                                                                                                                           Round-leaved Cranesbill
                                                                                                                                Hedgerow Cranesbill
                                                                                                                                   Broad Bean


The Rights of the River Wensum, 30 April 2022

Yesterday afternoon Belinda and I attended the 'Celebration of the Declaration of the Rights of the River Wensum' (what a snappy title!) event held in Wensum Park in Norwich. 

It was an event organised by the Stop the Wensum Link and included some really inspirational speakers on subjects such as the biodiversity of chalk streams (of which the Wensum is one of only 260 in the world), an artists view of rivers, conservation of the Wensum and it's catchment and then a rousing call to arms by Nick Acheson before a ceremony to 'bless the river'. All on a glorious sunny afternoon with a great turnout, stalls and coffee! I even snuck off to find a small patch of Perfoliate Alexanders in a wild corner of the park.