Sunday, 17 April 2016
It's been about six weeks since my last blog update - it's been a bit of a busy time! We moved house during the Easter holiday and are settling in. That means we've said goodbye to our old local patch near the River Wensum and have a new local patch not far from the River Yare. In this update, I'm hoping to sum up our time at our old patch, introduce our new patch and take a tour of a familiar places during the mean time.
We've lived in a flat in Norwich close to the River Wensum together for about 3 years. In that time, we've set up bird feeders in the communal gardens - attracting and sustaining quite large numbers of particular species (especially starlings and green finches). In the process we also accidentally created an ideal home for a family of wood mice in hole just beneath the feeding station. On walks around the patch, we've seen otters, woodpeckers, kingfishers and many woodland birds. Although most of the more uncommon species only showed themselves when I wasn't carrying my camera! We've seen a lot of wildlife in what we thought was an unlikely place in the city. I hope that our small population of birds will find ample food sources without us (I'm sure they will). We've also seen lots around our usual wildlife adventure areas, of which we've managed to visit a couple during the moving process...
Just over a week after we moved to our new house and a few days before returning to work, we decided to escape the boxes, sorting and shopping and go on a hunt for bluebells at Foxley Wood. I had been hearing reports of early bluebells and didn't want to accidentally miss one of my favourite wildlife spectacles. It was a beautifully sunny day, but we hadn't considered quite how wet and muddy it would be after the thunderstorm the previous evening. It prevented us from reaching the bluebell hotspots, but we took comfort in that the patches of bluebells we did find were just coming into bloom. There should be a chance to go back before they are over. Pretty white blossoms adorned some of the trees and the sunshine had brought out a myriad of butterflies: brimstones, commas and peacocks basking and skimming over the unkempt grasses at the edges of the rides. A chiff chaff called in the background, heralding that spring had arrived with him. We stopped before the path became unpassable and listened: a buzzard calling in the background, tits and finches calling too each other. A sense of calm in the chaos of the last few days.
We're not actually that far away from our old patch, but we are now in a house in the suburbs of Norwich. That means I now have a small garden which is pretty much just lawn at the moment - I'm itching to get started on transforming it into a wildlife haven. The very first thing we did when we arrived (and I really do mean the first thing!) was to put up our bird feeding station and fill it full of the normal delicacies. Not expecting anything for at least a few days, I was pleased that it had been found by a magpie, a pair of collared doves and a pair of woodpigeon within the first day. Not my intended audience, but still a good start. There is a park and a small woodland opposite the front of our house and when hanging washing out (is it sad that I am excited that I can do this?!) I can hear blue, great and coal tits, chaffinches, green finches and gold finches, even a chiff chaff and a green woodpecker, so I knew we'd get some smaller birds eventually. We've now been here for just over two weeks and we have regularly visiting birds which are slowly growing in numbers. The first were a pair of blue tits, then a pair of great tits, now we also have a pair of chaffinches and a robin. Hopefully the other birds I can hear will find their way across too. On walking around our local patch, we've discovered, to our delight that we can walk through the small woodland, which is absolutely filled with bird song. There is a mixture of mature and young trees and daffodils and English bluebells have been planted beneath them. The park leads to a path. On the corner, amongst a few trees, I have found a pair of nuthatches in the same place three times. I've decided I am going to call this 'nuthatch corner'. They are clearly used to people passing because on the third occasion, I took my camera and managed to get some decent shots of one of them.