Blogger: Erica Howe, Communications Manager
It was full of highs and lows, sweat, smiles and cheers, but we made it! The EastCoasters completed their relay from RSPB Minsmere to RSPB Titchwell in 10 hours and 45 mins on Sunday 29 May. The weather was kind to us, there was a little breeze blowing but that certainly didn’t knock anyone’s enthusiasm!
Becky set off at the unsociable hour of 7.45am running the 7 miles to Blythburgh where she met John to hand over Albie, the fluffy albatross! John swiftly got the miles under his belt and under three hours later arrived beaming in Caistor. Lyndsey then took the baton (sorry, the albatross!) and started her rather blustery 9 mile leg to Horsey Beach. Setting a great pace, she was soon off the bike and handing over to Matt and the boys who took on a 15 mile leg to move the race up to Bacton. In an impressive team effort, the lads were thrilled to have completed the ride and Steve and Giles were soon on their way, running the penultimate leg to Trimmingham. With a cool 7 miles run in an admirable time, the baton was again passed over for the last time to Ian and Mike who set off to bike the final 34 miles to RSPB Titchwell!
Now, we musn’t neglect to tell you about our youngsters who did us all proud in Wells shaking tins and collecting even more cash for us. Battling against the holiday crowds and the looming clouds, the Murray/Ingham team flew the Love Nature flag talking to the public.
As the evening grew near, the cycling duo arrived at Titchwell just before 6.30pm, looking positively fresh-faced. A few cups of tea, some cakes and a bottle of fizzy pop later and we were all saying goodbye and heading home for a well deserved rest!
A huge thankyou to everyone who has donated and helped us to raise nearly £1200 for the RSPB, a fantastic achievement!
Special thanks go to; Becky Ingham (and her Mum and Dad for their breakfast!), John Sharpe, Lyndsey Symonds, Matt Howard, Chris Morgan, Adam Lemmon, Matthew Price, Steve Field, Giles McCathie, Ian Howe, Mike Auger, Adam Murray, Abi Pike, Elliot Murray, LuLu Ferguson, Dave Hawkins, Jackie Howe, Paul Howe, BBC Radio Norfolk and everyone who donated in support of the day.
Blogger: Aggie Rothon, Communications Officer
We went in to the city on Saturday, for the bank and for me to buy a dress for a wedding. It reminded us that we are more country folk than city folk. There’s not much space in the city is there? Still, ask my sister or my best friend Huw, both hardened city types, and they’ll tell you of their favourite view; lights twinkling from a darkened cluster of skyscrapers, or their favourite place to be; a bustling cafe-bar, full of chatter until the early hours.
It got me to thinking what my favourite things are. Morning, just as the sun appears over the rim of night and breathing cool, fresh air. Trees, in craggy winter dress or in their first green flush. Birdsong at dusk. At the moment, the verges are alive with flowers and at this time of year they are definitely some of my favourite things.
Bubbling waves of white on fleshy green stems, cow parsley clothes the roadsides. It reminds me of tanned skin from playing outdoors, the end of school terms and riding plump ponies along narrow, country lanes. I’d be on my strawberries and cream coloured cob my sister on her more glamorous cowboy-coloured pony, slowly meandering along with the flies. The cow parsley would be too good to resist and the ponies would snatch great mouthfuls as we went, teeth clunk-ing through the stems.
Yellow flag iris
I grew up more a coastal north Norfolk girl and it wasn’t until later that we crept closer and still closer to the magnificent Broads. It was walking through the tangled alder and reed carrs as I explored my new homelands that I came across these flowers. And what an apt name for a flower! You are surrounded by the damp calm of the woods and water but standing strong and tall amongst the greens and browns will be a statue of yellow. Flower heads in a stiff salute and almost neon against the muted backdrop of undergrowth.
It lined the wooded paths. Bright, stars of pink or red fading to crisp buckets of seed. Press one of these hard seed-shells just as they turn husky and dry and hundreds of brown seeds will pour from them, scattering on to the leaves below to become next years sea of pink-red.
And so many more! The vibrant blue of cornflowers and comfrey and the crumpled red skins of poppy petals. Oxlips and cowslips and the brightness of valerian in the driest of spots. Magnificent in their diversity can they all be my favourites?
What are your favourite countryside things? Tell us on /www.facebook.com/rspbintheeast
Cow parsley. Photo credit: Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)
Blogger: Emily Field, RSPB Volunteer & Farmer Alliance Project Officer (Bird Survey Data & Advice)
Raaagh! My Camera Broke just as I knew I had my last opportunity to snap the great tits feeding chicks in our nest box! Sure enough I went there this morning and my allotment was silent, a quick peep confirmed my suspicion- yes they’d gone! Frustration aside- this is such a lovely story for me.
It all starts last Autumn, when I dragged my kids up to ‘Wild About Norfolk’- at Dereham High School- really I just wanted to show off this fabulous event to them as I’d helped set up the night before...
I live with my husband and our two boys, they’re into motorbikes, computer games, electric guitars and drums... nothing bad there- but sometimes I wish I could kindle a bit more excitement for nature. So I’d seen on the programme there was going to be bird box making- bingo- if there are hammers involved the boys would be there! So I got them there without too much whining.
We had loads of fun on the way around to the workshop- the event was a huge success with so much to see & do (lots of activities for the boys), and I felt very proud as I identified most of the items in the wildlife quiz. When we finally found the right place, I was delighted to see a friendly face- one of my Volunteer & Farmer Alliance (V&FA) farmland bird surveyors was also volunteering that day! He helped my four year old, Tom, build a bird box and Tom listened carefully to every instruction- he was delighted to hear that the wood is all pre-cut by prisoners at Wayland Prison, not far from us.
Tom chose a spot at our on the half dead bramley apple tree, by the tree house for it, duly north-east facing and we forgot all about. Then while laying in the hammock a few weeks ago, I noticed a pair of great tits busily darting to a fro from the box, gradually the noise form the box got louder, and I lost many a minute watching mum bringing in a daddy long legs, a caterpillar or small beetle.
This Monday, I was so worried the box would fly off the branch in the wind, and it was swaying it was so weighted down with chicks! The behaviour of the parents changed as they started to call from a branch outside the box instead of going straight in with the food and then a baby popped its head out of the hole! So I know they weren’t far from fledging.
Now I feel silly with excitement & can’t wait for next spring!
Great Tit. Photo Credit: Ben Hall (rspb-images.com)
Love Nature Week: Saturday 28 May to Sunday 5 June
Spring Watch Monday 30 May to Thursday 16 June
Make your Nature Count Saturday 4 June to Sunday 12 June
Home of Spring Watch 2011, Ynys-hir woodland canopy hide, Ynys-hir RSPB reserve. Photo Credit: Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)
Blogger: Gena Correale-Wardle, Community Fundraising Officer
Last weekend I visited Titchwell Marsh reserve for the first time in about 18 months. I was hoping to spy some of the ‘star species’ that the North Norfolk coast has to offer, including marsh harrier, bittern and bearded tit. Before I started work at the RSPB I had never heard of, let alone seen any of these birds, but it’s strange how they so easily become a part of your world and you expect to see these new-found-friends every time you visit their home. So along I went, dragging my boyfriend with me in an attempt to introduce him to these magnificent avian allies of mine.
Unless you’ve been living under a very sheltered rock you’ll remember that last weekend was very blustery and birds aren’t particularly fond of the wind. Titchwell definitely seemed to be feeling the effects of the strong winds, the skies were almost clear except for a few hardy gulls battling against the gusts and summer swifts swirling above our heads.
I couldn’t help but be disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to use my birdie knowledge to educate my teacher boyfriend on the delights of North Norfolk’s nature, although he seemed to be more interested in enjoying the delights of Titchwell’s tea room anyway! Nevertheless we ventured to the new Parrinder hide (so cool!) to look out over the quiet lagoon. No marsh harriers dancing but plenty of mallards with their ducklings, greylag geese with their goslings and avocets with their fluffy, straight-beaked chicks. Oh so cute.
Then we saw our ‘star spot’ for the day. A courageous coot was walking along the bank of the lagoon being blown about by the wind, his feathers in total disarray, making me feel a lot better about my own windswept ‘do! My man was so blown away by this little guy going about his daily business, I was glad that the ‘star species’ of Titchwell were hiding for the day. I’m sure if there had been bitterns booming and beardies pinging we would’ve overlooked our coot friend, but it was nice to see this ‘ordinary’ species bringing such joy to someone who has never really been interested in birds before. Oh so coot.
Birding is a little bit like celeb spotting sometimes, brilliant to see the most famous rarities in the flesh, although they never stay long, preferring to get back to their exclusive lifestyles. Watching our coot was more like seeing one of your mates in a flap trying his best to scrape together a yummy lunch despite the adverse weather and the wind blown barnet. We can all relate to that!
Coot. Photo Credit: Jodie Randall (rspb-images.com)