Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Suffolk Coast

I had a very enjoyable walk at the coast today albeit in rain.  Many of the plants were going over but nevertheless still stunning.  I found a Reed Buntings nest which held four eggs and I ringed a late brood of Avocet chicks.
Reed Buntings nest with four eggs

Sea Kale

Yellow Horned poppy and Sea Pea

Young Avocet chicks

Monday, 23 July 2012

Trimley Marshes

There was a Little Stint today; daily now we have had Whimbrel, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Ruff, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Dunlin and the usual regulars such as Avocet, Lapwing, Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit.  Three Little Egrets were in the willow trees on the island in the reservoir - a possible breeding site for the future.

Managed to ring a few birds today and at last we caught a few young Sedge and Reed Warblers.  We also had an audience when ringing!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Trimley Reserve

The Trimley Round up. Number 9. Week beginning 9th July
Anna Alam

Its all change at Trimley    as Andrew Excell has now transferred from Redgrave and Lopham Fen to his new post as Sites Manager for the Trimley reserve and reserves previously managed by Mick Wright.   All the volunteers and friends at Trimley gave Andrew a very warm welcome and wish him and his young family a very happy time on this part of our beautiful coast.

Unfortunately visitors walking up to the reserve  (not on reserve land and not managed by Suffolk wildlife trust) will be disappointed to see the verges cut to a severe state.  The beautiful wild flowers on the left have been severely ‘cut back’ and it is doubtful whether the Wasp Spider will have survived such a blow to its important habitat.  This is very sad indeed.  Certainly this years ringing total for Sedge and Reed warblers remain low and the cutting of the reed on the right of the track has also removed vital habitat for these species.  The removal of reed beds however small has a detrimental impact on very fragile bird populations. We must be reminded that reed beds provide a rich ecosystem, which supports a whole host of insects, which form a rich food web, which Reedbirds depend to survive.

On a happier note the reserve is busy with some interesting sightings.  The first week of July saw the arrival of 2 Spoonbills one of whom stayed for the whole week!  There were quite a few visitors to the summer flood hide to see these very elegant birds.  Paul Oldfield took some excellent photos available to see on his blog.  Little Egrets have also continued to enjoy the facilities around the reserve.

The summer flood has also played host to a good number of Blacktailed Godwit in their splendid summer plumage, as well as at least 2 lovely Ruff.   On 9th July, 8 Common Sandpiper were seen flitting around on the beach. Greenshank and Spotted Redshank have also been visiting in increasing numbers as have a small group of Avocet.  Several Common Terns was seen on Sunday with their swooping and hovering display.

Other birds noted and which many visitors should see or hear quite easily are Linnets.  A good number are on the reserve and a good number have been ringed.  Without the presence of so many brambles on the reserve this may not be the case.  Unfortunately brambles are often destroyed in private gardens and on public land possibly due to ignorance.  However, they provide important cover, feeding opportunities and safe nesting territories for Linnets as well as for other species including ducks.

The Swans and their signets have experienced highs and lows over the past few weeks.   One pair fortunately have 5 cygnets all growing and developing day by day and are too big to catch a lift across the water via their parents!  However, only 1 cygnet out of 3 remains from the pair, which nested by the visitors centre hide.  Quite a few Lapwing chicks have fledged now and can occasionally be seen from the summer flood hide.

Yesterday 2 Great Crested Grebe were hard at work on the reservoir building a nest out on the water.  It is very interesting to see them building this nest and good views are available from the Reservoir hide. It is such a shame that they are not taking any notice from everyone watching that it may be a good idea to change location as it could turn into a predator’s paradise!

If you come down to visit the reserve in the next week or two, look out for a range of Butterflies; including Ringlets, Meadow Browns Red Admirals, and Speckled Woods.

Thank you to everyone who contributes to sightings. 

Monday, 9 July 2012

UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT: Land Leading to the Reserve

UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT and for the first time since the herb rich verges were planted about 15 years ago they have largely been devastated and at a stage in the year when they are the most productive for our wildlife.  The work is totally unnecessary and no more than sheer vandalism.  Unfortunately, this so-called management work, taking place in May, June and July, is widespread in our countryside.  It’s no wonder that our countryside is so pitiful in terms of its wildlife.

Here at Trimley the work has gone on despite discussions to the contrary.  The verges were ablaze with colour and rich in insect life – now destroyed, butterfly habitat – now destroyed and wasp spider colonies – now destroyed.  Tall reed and a mixture of other tall vegetation, perfect sedge and Reed Warbler habitat – now destroyed.  In fact, Reed and Sedge Warblers and Whitethroat territories have been lost.

The verges were beautiful now we have an eyesore of dead grass; I am totally appalled by this. 

These verges are important; they provide a range of habitats for birds, insects of all kinds, small animals and a rich variety of plants.  These are wildlife corridors along which species can move and spread; they are desperately required to knit our countryside back together.   Furthermore they are the ‘N and B’ of the Orwell’s AONB.

The correct management for these verges is an autumn cut (September/October) with the clippings removed.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Trimley Volunteers

Today it was farewell to the Trimley volunteers.  They have thousands of man-hours between them in managing the reserve and the Visitor Centre; some have been helping for over twenty years.  It has been a fun and brilliant period of my life; the banter, friendship and support has been fantastic.

Many thanks to you all for this day and of course for making they reserve what it is today; just one of the best.


Me saying thank you to everyone.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

East Lane

Hanna, my eldest granddaughter, having finished her 'A' levels is on a break and staying with me. So its out and about having fun.  The weather forecast was totally wrong for this area as we were basking in hot sunshine.  I even had a chance to lay back and rest and soak up some sun.

We had a fantastic time before heading of for Lower Hollesley Heath.
Hanna exploring in the World War II bunkers where several
 swallows were nesting

Some nests contained eggs while other had chicks that were about to fledge 

Hanna looking for fossils

Red crag seam above London Clay
Hanna in prison

Monday, 2 July 2012


On Friday evening, June 29th I had completed 50 years in full time employment, which included 23 years with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.  Work colleagues and friends gathered at Foxburrow Farm to wish me well for the future.  I received lots of compliments and kind words in speeches by Steve Piotrowski, Julian Roughton and my team leader Dorothy Casey.

By the time it came for to me to say a few words I had lost my butterflies, which had been plaguing me all week.  Working for SWT has been a wonderful period in my life with so many good experiences and lots of happy memories.  

Thanks to you all for the garden plants and, with the money, I shall buy some outdoor clothing.

I was also presented with a framed estuary scene from the Coasts and Heath AONB team.
Steve, a long term friend reviewing my past with some amusing anecdotes

Lots of compliments from Julian, SWT Director

More compliments from Dorothy 

Julie and Anna, Trust volunteers and bird ringing friends, deadly
serious as usual

Familiar faces and Dave White in the foreground who has been with me
this last 23 years.