Wasp Spiders in Norwich, 25 September 2022

With a little detective work I managed to find the location of some Wasp Spiders in Eaton Park in Norwich. Belinda had never seen the species and was keen so we combined it with a shopping trip to the fine city and a visit to my parents.

The spiders were found quite easily in the long grass of the 'meadow area' of the park with a couple of Long-winged Coneheads adding further interest. A Grey Heron was on the lily pond in the park and not giving a f*** about passing people including some shitty kids who were trying to scare it away. I despair sometimes. The cafe in the park is to be highly recommended and it was nice to take a trip down memory lane and see the boating lake and miniature steam railway. 

                                                                                                                                 Wasp Spiders
                                                                                                                        Long-winged Conehead
                                                                                                                                   Grey Heron

Thrandeston walk, 24 September 2022

We headed the short distance to Thrandeston for a good walk on Saturday. It's an area we haven't explored before and there are also some interesting carved wooden pew ends in the church I wanted to see.

Doing a couple of shorter circular loops from the church (to test Belinda's dodgy back!) we enjoyed the area a lot. I found a new plant too which always helps - some Marvel-of-Peru which is also known as Four-o'clock Plant growing in a ditch that contained grass cuttings hinting at it's origin as a garden escape. Also seen on the walks were Norway Maple looking very colourful, Osier, Spindle, Crab Apple and plentiful Dewberry. The latter 2 were collected for culinary use at home!

The wooden pew ends at the church were superb - thought to be 2 witches and dating from the 1600's when the hunting and persucution of so called witches was at it's height. One of the figures is lifting her skirt to show her leg and both carry their 'familiars' - a cat and an owl!

At home a Red-legged Shieldbug was on the house wall as we left.

                                                                                                                           Norway Maple

                                                                                                                       Red-legged Shieldbug

A couple of new moths and a chat about Ghana

On Thursday evening I met up with Jus, Andy and Dave at John Geeson's house in Barnham Broom. John had kindly offered to talk us through his experiences of Ghana in readiness for our trip next year. 

It was a jovial and informative evening and into the bargain John had some trapped moths for us to gawp at in his kitchen - Lunar Yellow Underwing, Large Wainscot, Dusky Lemon-sallow and Brindled Green. The first 2 being new ones for me. 

                                                                                                                         Lunar Yellow Underwing
                                                                                                                                    Large Wainscot
                                                                                                                                Dusky Lemon-sallow

Ghana 2023!

In our continued attempt to get back to foreign birding next year we have booked a 17 day trip to Ghana in West Africa! By 'we' I mean me, Jus, Andrew and Dave Russell. With 4 of us we have been able to secure a private tour at the prime time of year in November/December with local company Ashanti. They come highly recommended and after chatting with them at the Global Birdfair we took the plunge and booked this week.

The tour is a comprehensive one covering all the main sites in the country including the famous canopy walkway at Kakum NP and of course the must do Yellow-headed Picathartes site. The map below shows the sites we'll visit and our rough route.

It's a while to wait but it's finally good to have some dates in the diary to look forward to...


Sparham Pools and Lyng, 13 September 2022

With most of the day off and nothing much else doing I decided to spend a bit of time in the Wensum Valley at Sparham/Lyng. I wanted to see one of the lingering Ospreys and parked up on the Lyng/Easthaugh Road I readily found one circling over Lyng village at 09.25. I then spent the next few hours not seeing it again!

The time was well spent nonetheless with 2 Red Kites, c8 Common Buzzards, Kingfisher, Little Grebe, Little Egret and a fresh juv Willow Warbler at Sparham Pools. I then relocated to check the valley overlooking Fustyweed with a wing-tagged Marsh Harrier my reward. 


Cannabis sativa at large on a Norfolk seafront! 5 September 2022

Finishing work early yesterday gave me the opportunity to dash up to Cromer for a flying visit. The reason? Louis Parkerson had found a plant of Cannabis sativa (aka Hemp) hiding in plain sight on the seafront there! 

With precise directions I found the plant straight away and set about photographing it without arousing any suspicion from passers by! Luckily I managed it and was away from the scene in lightening quick time. In reality it is unlikely to be the infamous 'weed' and far more likely to be the variety grown for the hemp fibre which can sometimes be found in bird seed. Still, it's been good fun on social media!


A couple of bits on the way to the footy, 3 September 2022

On the way into Norwich for the footy yesterday a couple of bits caught my eye.

Firstly a Raven flew west over Caistor St Edmund on my way into the city and then, close to where I park in Trowse the verge held some naturalised Japanese Lantern which seems to be doing very well.


A rather splendid fungus in Norwich, 2 September 2022

Thanks to a timely posting on Facebook I was able to take a slight detour on my way in to Norwich today to see one of the most impressive fungi I've ever seen.

Growing on a buried dead stump on the verge in The Avenues was this huge beast - Ganoderma resinaceum. It was about the size of a dustbin lid! Apparantly the resinous central coating is supposed to be inflammable but I didn't put that to the test. Being where it is I can see it getting damaged by kids so I'm glad I went to see it while it was fresh and looking good.