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Monday, 13 October 2014

Lackford Lakes in Suffolk

On a recent visit to the UK we stopped for a quick look around Lackford Lakes run by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.  As the name suggests it's main areas of interested are the many varieties of birds that are attracted to the lakes as well as many, many butterflies and dragonflies, at the right time of year.

Next to the carpark is a visitors centre where you can get information packs on what you may be able to spot around the site, a cup of tea and a cake to break up your visit and they also provide wheelchairs for disabled visitors.


These chairs were looking out through the large window to a small pond, so you can sit and wait and see what will be attracted by the water and the various plants around it.




Because we were only here for a short while on this visit we chose the path that leads off to the right of the visitors centre.


There are many hides dotted around the lakes giving you a good place to set up your camera and wait for the birds to arrive.  This particular lake is popular with the beautiful Humming Birds, and a couple of branches have been strategically placed for them to perch on, but as you can see, during my short sit in the hide not one came near.  Oh well I hope to visit again next spring, when I will have more time to sit and wait.



There was a Moor Hen swimming about, having a mid morning snack so I did manage to get a few nice shots of that.



I loved the little strut it did across this particularly dense area of reed.


This fungus growing on the branch of a tree is known as Jew's Ear, Wood Ear or Jelly Ear, due to the ear like shape of the fungus and the brown colouration.  The fungus can be found growing on live or dead wood, in temperate climates, throughout the year.


We could hear the chatter of these geese long before they flew over head.



These small, shiny, red berries can be found on the Guelder Rose Tree, also known as Water Elder, Cramp Bark, Snowball Tree and European Cranberry Bush.

This bush is also one of the national symbols of Ukraine.


As I said at the beginning of this post, when we were at Lackford Lakes in July there were so many butterflies and dragonflies around that you had to be careful where you stepped as they were all over the grass on the pathways.  Having said that they were still a challenge to photograph as they never stay still for more than a moment.

I did manage to photograph this European Peacock Butterfly.  It is found in Europe and temperate Asia.


This little fellow is a Common Blue Damselfly also known as a Common Bluet and Northern Bluet. It is common in all of Europe except for Iceland.  You can tell this a male as the female is a light buff brown colour.


In this next picture I managed to get a shot of a male and female Common Blue Damsel fly locked together during mating.  You can clearly see the difference in colour between to the sexes.


Here I photographed one of the butterflies from my childhood, the Red Admiral, it was the first butterfly I remember identifying as a child, as they were very common.  They can be found in temperate Europe, Asia and North America.



As we look across one of the lakes you can see a platform in the middle with some birds sitting on it.


With my camera set to its maximum zoom I can just make out that they are Cormorants.  These birds can be found all around the world.


And of course a lake would not be a lake with out the presence of the graceful Mute Swan.  It can be identified by its all white plumage, orange bill bordered with black and the pronounced knob atop of the bill.  These birds are native to Europe and Asia.


Unfortunately this is a poor quality picture of an incredibly difficult to capture Banded Demoiselle, which is a species of damselfly.


This spider sat in the middle of its web that it had strung between the branches of a bush, I am not sure what sort of spider it is.


This was the only one of these Comma Butterflies that I saw on our visit.  They are also known as Angel Wings because of the irregular shape of their wings.  They can be found in Northern Africa and across Europe.


Just some of the flora and fauna to be seen around the lakes.


This dragon fly perched on a branch over the edge of the lake looks a like a Blue dasher dragonfly, part of the Skimmer family.


As were turning the corner of the path that was following the edge of one of the lakes we came across this group of Canada Geese, could these have been the ones that flew over head earlier?  I was expecting them to waddle of when they heard us approach.


But no, they were quite happy for us to walk along with them.  Most of the are male with the black head, white cheeks and black necks, but you can see a couple of females at the back with grey heads and necks.


A close up of one of the males.


Here you can see where they have flattened the undergrowth to create a walkway giving them access to the lake.


Here are one or two more shots from around Lackford Lakes, if you ever get the chance to pop by for a visit you must.  I am looking forward to going back in the spring.



Wednesday, 8 October 2014

St Mary The Virgin Church at Titchwell

We spotted the tower of this church as we were driving along the coastal road on our way from Sheringham to Hunstanton in Norfolk.

This lovely church can be found in the centre of the village of Titchwell.  The Domesday Book mentions a church here in Titchwell since the end of the 11th Century and much of the structure of this church is said to date from this time.


The original 11th Century church was narrower than it is today, with major alterations having been carried out in the 15th Century along with repair works in 1844, 1859 and then major renovations in 1890 and again inn 1902.


When you step inside the church it feels really intimate, simple, yet ornate.


There are five, smaller, beautifully stained glass windows in the church along with one large one on the South wall, here is a view of one of them.


This little alcove in the porch has a lovely pottery replica of the church.


This beautiful round tower is a typical late 11th Century tower found dotted around East Anglia.


This window in the tower is a later Victorian addition with stained glass from 1897 and shows a farming scene of 'The Sower'.


The church yard here in Titchwell is also home to the memorial of the village men killed during the Great War.


I also noticed this unusual tree which I have identified as a Cedar of Lebanon, due to the large squat cones, native to the Mediterranean.


Monday, 6 October 2014

Yak 52 Aerobatic Display

This years Sheringham Carnival on the Norfolk Coast saw an aerial display by Yak 52 Aerobatic Display piloted by Nigel Willson.  We had only just arrived at my parents house, so I just managed to get a few shots above the roof line, would have loved to have been on the seafront for a better look.