Monday, 24 March 2014

Buckenham Marshes and UEA

It's been a while since I've had a moment to update my blog, what with all the exciting things that have been happening, so this may be a little long!

The Havergate Hares

Buckenham Marshes - 23rd March 2014

About a year ago today I decided I wanted to see brown hares in the wild because I really had never seen one before. One of my favourite characters in Alice in Wonderland has always been the Mad March Hare. We decided to go to Havergate Island in Suffolk, and we were not disappointed; although the hares were decidedly chilled out and seemed to have no inclination to entertain us by boxing.

I was inspired to try to see them again this year, so I checked out the best place to see them on the BBC Wildlife Magazine website ( Unfortunately, Havergate seems to have been hit badly by storms during the extreme weather this winter, so we decided to try somewhere closer to home, but still somewhere we hadn't been before. The RSPBs Buckenham Marshes seemed like the perfect place, only a stones throw away from one of usual local patches, Strumpshaw Fen, and seemingly full of wildlife (

Lapwing at Buckenham
The hares were nowhere to be seen this weekend, but I don't blame them. Whilst we were there, the weather turned from glorious sunshine to biting wind and torrential rain. We still saw some pretty amazing things though. Our first spot were the lapwings. I've always loved these birds since I spotted them for the first time at Cley a few years ago. Their tumbling display flights with alternate flashes of their black and white wings and beautiful bubbling calls, along with their usual pee-wit, are enchanting.

Little egret
Lapwings were not the only beautiful birds present at Buckenham though. I also saw my very first wigeon - and there were thousands of them. I have no idea how I have managed to not see these birds at all during the seven years I have lived in Norfolk. These little birds with their gorgeous auburn heads and their gold highlights are adorable. A snow white little egret also graced us with its presence, as did a number of shovelers, teal, shelduck, greylags, redshank, linnets, moorhen, coot, mute swans, a grey heron, a kestrel and a marsh harrier.

Wigeon at Buckenham

Mixed flock (or raft, as a group of ducks are apparently called on water) at Buckenham, mainly wigeon

A shoveler pair at Buckenham

Kestrel perching near the car park

Common linnet perching in the car park

The Broads at the University of East Anglia - 16th March 2014

I've gone from somewhere new to somewhere familiar with this post. I studied for my BSc Ecology degree at the University of East Anglia, and I have many fond memories of walking around the UEA 'lake' (really a part of the broads) and the surrounding woodland for bird spotting and bird ringing with the other ecologists. I also remember several of them being exasperated with me for not being able to tell the difference between the various warbler species by their song (... I still can't). Along with warblers, it was also where I spotted my first black caps and whitethroats.

On this visit, we didn't see any of the above, but it was a sunny spring day and there were butterflies and blossoms aplenty. Along with a chiff chaff singing his heart out, some robins and long tailed tits, great tits and chaffinches.

The broads at UEA

Small tortoiseshell

Blackthorn blossom

Willow catkins

Posing chaffinch
I feel that I would like to end this post with one of my favourite visitors to our bird feeders recently. I should also explain that the reason for my tardiness in writing this blog post is due to a rather busy week or two at work, including my TV debut on BBC Look East ( about this blog and my nature work at school. But that's a post for another day!

One of my favourites: one of four or so goldfinches regularly visiting our feeders


  1. Some fascinating insights there and wonderful captures, keep at it.

    Best Wishes


    1. Thank you Tony, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I will also make sure that I check out your website too.

  2. What a lovely collection of pictures and stories to inspire a weekend wildlife walk :-)

    Becky x

    1. Thank you Becky! Come with us on our next one? X