Pleated Snowdrop, Galanthus plicatus, Hoxne, 18 February 2023

While walking in the Hoxne area on Saturday I came across a plethora of weird snowdrops on a trackside verge in the Waveney Valley. Amongst Common Snowdrops and a couple of clumps of Greater Snowdrops was a small clump of large and robust plants. They were tall specimens with grass green wide-ish leaves and curious long narrow tepals forming the flowers. More importantly they also had inrolled leaf edges and ridges formed on more mature leaves. These form the 'pleats' on Galanthus plicatus, Pleated Snowdrop which was a surprise find and a new species or me.


Easy Taiga! 17 February 2023

A Friday to myself so I decided to head for the Ludham area initially for a goose chase.

Taiga Bean Geese have been dwindling in numbers in the Yare Valley for years and this was the first winter they failed to arrive at all. Hence my keenness to see a group of 12 that have turned up in the Ludham/St Benet's Abbey area. Parking by Ludham Bridge I walked along the river bank towards the abbey and quickly found the flock, associating with Greylags abour 2/3 of the way along. They were also much closer than was typical in the Yare Valley which was an added bonus. With the regular birds always leaving our shores in about mid-January it was also nice to see some in the 3rd week of February. 31 Bewick's Swans nearby were also good to see. 

Next I headed through the lanes to Buckenham Wood where I had directions to a fungus I wanted to see. It didn't take me long to find the 2 Hazel trees as they are obvious at this time of year with their catkins. And on the trees was my fungus - Spring Hazelcup. Nearby was also Blushing Bracket

Buckenham marshes was nearby so I called in there. Parking at the fisherman's carpark I walked to the mill and beyond for little reward. A group of c25 White-fronted Geese didn't hold the recent Tundra Bean Goose but the the spectacle of thousands of Lapwings, Golden Plovers, Wigeon, Teal etc on the marsh was something else. c600 Pink-footed Geese were on the opposite side of the river and 2 Chinese Water Deer beside the entrance track near the station. Back along the lane towards the level crossing were a number of Fieldfares and Redwings in the paddocks including a very dark Redwing which sadly didn't look quite right for an Icelandic bird.    

In Brundall as I headed for home I noticed the Abraham-Isaac-Jacob was in full flower with Lungwort and my first Lesser Celandine flower of the year there too.

                                                                                                                                   Taiga Bean Geese

                                                                                                                                    Spring Hazelcup

                                                                                                                                  Blushing Bracket

                                                                                                                                  Chinese Water Deer
                                                                                                                                dark Redwing

Snowdrops etc in NE Suffolk, 11 February 2023

A dull and uninspiring day was birightened up by a visit to a churchyard where 3 different species of snowdrop occur within a few yards of each other. These are Greater Snowdrop, Green Snowdrop and Common Snowdrop. While fudging around I also found a good number of variations in this rather mind-boggling genus! One particularly yellow plant was close to the fabled 'Norfolk Blonde' variety. Plenty of Winter Aconites were there too to add a splash of colour.

After that we went for a walk at North Cove doing a good circuit. A Marsh Tit showed beautifully near Woodland Hide in North Cove NR (no camera!), a few Siskins were in the Alders and we also found Scarlet Elfcup and Cramp Balls

                                                                                                                            Green Snowdrop

                                                                                                                             Greater Snowdrops
                                                                                                                  Common Snowdrop variations

                                                                                                                                Scarlet Elfcup
                                                                                                                                 Cramp Balls

Waveney Valley Wander, 6 February 2023

I was up bright and early for a frosty but sunny walk in the Waveney Valley west of Weybread. 

Immediately it was obvious that resident birds are beginning their spring awakening with 3 different singing Song Thrushes, 2 pairs of Mistle Thrushes and 2 pairs of noisy Egyptian Geese. Greenfinches and Dunnocks were also in good voice. It was nice to see Hazel trees with their tiny magenta female flowers alongside the male catkins and both Common Orange Lichen and the 'reindeermoss' lichen Cladonia portentosa.

Back at Weybread a circular walk around no.1 pit and along Watermill Lane was completely fruitless! At least I clocked up a good few km walking.

At home we have both Early Crocus and Lungwort in flower locally.

                                                                                                                           Common Orange Lichen
                                                                                                                             Cladonia portentosa
                                                                                                                            Early Crocus

A weekend away at Bawdsey/Rendlesham, 4 - 5 February 2023

We took our motorhome for a spin this last weekend staying over for one night at Bawdsey Quay. 

The weekend was spent walking miles and exploring the area although it has to be said that there was very little to get excited about in the realm of natural history. Saturday saw us do a long loop north along the beach from Bawdsey Quay to north of East Lane despite signs saying the footpath was closed! If trying this path (on the seaward side of Bawdsey Manor) make sure you do it and low tide. We busied ourselves taking arty photos and reaching East Lane there was lots of Little Grebe vocal action and a Bearded Tit is probably a good record for there. A Common Seal was just offshore. On the walk back along the lane 2 Curlew were in a field and back at the picnic site carpark just before the quay a noisy Ring-necked Parakeet was found. That's 2 in 2 days with another having been added to the garden list back in Pulham the day before as one flew over the road while I was in the drive. 

After a peaceful moonlit night in the van we moved the short distance north on Sunday to do a long walk around Upper Hollesley Common and Rendlesham Forest. Woodlarks were in evidence with 3 singing birds providing a lovely backdrop to the sunny heath. Not much else was seen on the whole walk however just the odd Siskin and a Green Woodpecker. Snowdrops are now in full flower and the first couple of flowering Daffodils were also seen.