Wednesday, 19 May 2010


We watched as they circled the green this evening although the 'Birds of Britain' site says they are a common sight in July.

"In July evening flights of swifts wheeling high over our garden are a regular feature. Wonderfully wild screaming reveals their whereabouts although the visitors are often scarcely visible to the eye. On other occasions up to a dozen will hurtle just above the rooftops. Yet it is remarkable how infrequently one hears of aerial collisions.
During cold and windy weather parent swifts can spend long periods sitting on nests close together, or on top of each other with bodies hunched and feathers ruffled. In abnormally cold weather swifts may throw out complete clutches of eggs before themselves congregating in clusters on walls. Swifts will take shelter in their nests in heavy rain, even staying in for much of the day."

The cuckoo has also been busy in the mornings, calling for 20 minutes at a time.

Monday, 17 May 2010

And Hail!

On the same day as the wasp - I forgot.


Just seen the first wasp hovering over my cider in the pub...

Sunday, 16 May 2010


Everywhere! I love lilac, even when it is white and not lilac at all.
There is also a lot of this, it looks like comfrey and it's everywhere, what is it? The bees love it but the local gardeners don't. I've left it in both our rented garden and our new one for the bees.
It's the first time that both dogs have settled outside too

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Bluebells and nightingales

The english bluebells are now out and putting the interlopers in their place

In fact the wildflowers are all over the place at the moment as are the song birds. A cuckoo has been heard in the village this week and apparently the nightingales on the common are singing so loudly that some residents are being kept awake! It sounds as if there are some swallows nesting in the eaves of a couple of houses on the green, but I haven't seen any at the Anchor yet.

Wild garlic still abounds and we are going to have to start freezing the pesto.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

More wild recipies

Following the success with the wild garlic pesto I thought I'd add some to Jo's recipe from the Covent Garden Soup book for nettle soup:
 DON'T forget the rubber gloves for picking the nettles! 

Keep the gloves on at this stage.
We substituted the garlic with the wild stuff and picked a huge amount of nettles as we didn't have any scales. It was truly delicious.

All Gone!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Wild Garlic Pesto

It worked - even if it left us all a bit, well, garlicy.

100g wild garlic
50 g parmesan or strong cheddar
50g pine nut and a few walnut mixed in
Olive oil

Put all the ingredients except the oil in a blender and slowly add the oil till you get the consistency you want. Leave it to sit for a few hours before eating. Not a great photo, but it didn't hang around for long!

There's wild garlic all over the village, but if anyone needs large quantities then let me know.

First swim in the sea

No pictures to prove it I'm afraid but there were witnesses. The hardened sea swimmers were on the beach yesterday as I went past on my morning run and they looked so very warm in the still water that I felt a pull towards the madness. On my way home to get my swim things I bumped into Toby and Kate Robinson, who were very encouraging, well actually Toby 'dared' me to go in, so that was it! First swim of the year.

By the time I returned Denis and John were out of the water so I asked if they wouldn't mind waiting till I had gone in, incase I drowned, or had a heart attack... They were very supportive and gave me many tips on how to become a true Walberswick swimmer, a dip every day and some neoprene boots seem to be the way to go. This morning I had to go early due to commitments and went in on my own, I missed being clapped as I went in but I''m determined to keep this up. Hoping to drag Mertz in at the weekend too.

We had a lovely walk in the woods later and it was interesting to see how few leaves were through, the hornbeam has been first to come though into leaf and so the sun is still reaching the woodland flowers below.

The celandines are carpeting the woodland floor now and the blue bells are on their way, but most impressive are the subtle wild orchids, with their mottled leaves poking through the grass. I got a good harvest of wild garlic yesterday and am going to attempt some wild garlic pesto later, it hasn't flowered yet so I might have another go as the flowers have such a lovely flavour.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010


Are here in force.

Sunday, 18 April 2010


Today's post is all about hearing things, not seeing things. This morning we had a wonderful long and warm walk in Dunwich forest, which was alive with wildlife. We've decided that Dunwich is near enough to mention in this blog, although Middleton probably doesn't count, more of which in a moment.

On the lower part of the forest, where both the herds of ponies are able to see each other across the water, we heard the first boom of a bittern. We had been reading all about the practice sounds that the males have been making this week but there he was definitely 'booming' away at the top of his voice. The whole area was teeming with birds and we recorded them in the log book in the hide.

In need to refreshment we called at the Middleton Bell and overheard the locals discussing having seen the first swallows in their village, anyone seen any in Walberswick yet?

Saturday, 17 April 2010


The first bats were out tonight, we are hoping that they are madly feeding on the midges that have really taken hold of the village this week. They are hard to identify, in the dark and flying to and fro, but we suppose that they must be pipistrelles, which are a protected species. There is a fantastic amount of good information available from Bat Conservation Trust who have a great website here. No pictures I am afraid - too dark!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Blossom is blooming

The blossom in the village is bursting out all over the place. Some hawthorne and blackthorn is out, but the wild cherry s still straining to come through. The blackthorn came too early a couple of years ago and the insects which pollinate it were not yet up and about, so there were no berries. A terrible year for those of us who make sloe gin! Hopefully this year they will do well as the bees are out and about already and should be heading for the strong scent of the blossom.

Monday, 12 April 2010

The cows are back on town marsh

And they have brought their little ones with them. The grey heron was keeping them company as was this little white egret, but they both flew off when we went past and the calves got spooked. Sorry little ones...

Thanks to Sue Smiley I realise that, having returned home from cycling to the shop with midges stuck in my teeth (thanks for pointing that out Mertz), I should have recorded their return. They are back in huge clouds and even the wind today has not been enough to blow them south. Sue tells me that when they get caught in a spider's web they look rather beautiful - best place for them! The ladybirds are out too, as are the bumble bees.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

First Elephant on the beach!

Yes really - there was an elephant on the beach yesterday morning:
And then we went and watched the lambs frolicking and I used my new iPhone app to stich together a number of photos so that we could see the whole panorama:
On Friday I had paddled over my knees so we adventurously set off on Saturday morning with our towels and swim wear but it felt much, much colder and so it just didn't happen.
He is still wearing a sweater!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Butterflies, frogs, spuds and Mare's Tail

For the second post of today many more firsts have been spotted as I spent the day outside. There were good and bad firsts, the bad was the first sign of the dreaded Mare's Tail poking through in Mother's vegetable garden as she was planting her spuds. Although spuds traditionally go in at Easter she stuck her elbow in the soil on Easter Sunday and decided it was too cold, so waited till today. Hopefully we've seen the last of the frosts.

(To see the images full size, just click on them) I am determined to find a use for Mare's Tail as it looks as if you should be able to eat the fertile stems, which emerge first, have spores on the tips and look like a cross between a fungus and asparagus, but so far I have only found a recipe for fungicide:
Biodynamic growers use horsetail tea to strengthen plants' resistance to fungal infections. Take ¾ oz dried horsetails and simmer for 30 minutes in 2 pints of rain water. Stand for 24 hours. Make up to 1 gallon, stirring the mixture for about 15 minutes. This mixture will keep for a couple of weeks. Spray the plants thoroughly every 10-14 days, starting early in the season. The later sprayings can be more dilute (making the solution up to as much as 10 gallons) but should always have a pale yellow-green or brown colour and smell of horsetails. Thanks to 

The Willow has burst its bud today and the silver birch pollen is thick, according to Michael Fisher the bees are very pleased with this development. He also had the roof of the Frogeye down for the first time, which means it is definitely springtime! The first Peacock butterfly was out and about foraging amongst the primroses and the first of the cowslips, but I didn't manage to catch it on camera because the dogs were chasing mice and disturbing it.

Holiday season

Is upon us and the village is full of families having a wonderful time, the green has it's daily appearance of the leftovers from a Boden Catalogue shoot and Sarah has opened Tinkers. Today the sun came out too and the thermometers rose to 16C.

The caravan site is full and looks much as it has done for the last 40 years

Tuesday, 30 March 2010


Again, not strictly Walberswick, but the cows on the Henham estate all seem to have given birth in the last 24 hours and there are little wobbly legged creatures all over the park, leaning gratefully against their mothers as they try to work out what's going on around them. I'll try to get some pictures over the next couple of days, but the weather has been so Aprilish that I have left my camera at home.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

The clocks have sprung forward today

A beautiful morning this morning and the holiday season is kicking off with the first car alarm going off on the green, not nature, but definitely an indicator that the seasons are changing! We walked down to the Hoist and watched as the reed cutters transported huge bundles of cut reeds from the marsh. We will now be able to see how long the reed takes to grow.

What it's all about

Having returned to live in Walberswick at the end of last year we realised that we would now have the chance to see all the seasons unfold on a daily basis, rather than on the occasions that we visited family. We decided there and then to keep a diary of the "firsts and lasts" of nature, i.e. the first swallow of summer, the first frost and so on. Of course we never actually got round to it then, although we talked about it a lot, but now that I'm back from my Arctic adventure we've finally got round to it. We'll start with a quick summary of the last few days, which have been particularly exciting as Spring has finally sprung but the first proper post will be Sunday 28th March 2010 as the clocks went forward and it has spurred us into action.

Both Mertz and I will post here and we would really welcome input from locals who have experienced "firsts and lasts". Although the main theme of the blog is the changing landscape and nature around us in this wonderful village, there will also be notes on other indicators of the changing seasons.

We saw our first lambs on Thursday, although strictly speaking they were North of the river as ours had been moved off, presumably to lamb elsewhere, maybe they are actually the same flock, who knows? The daffodils on the green were out the week before but we picked out first from the garden this week and the pussy willow finally burst through. The caravans are slowly returning to the camp site, one by one on huge transporters that wiggle their way through the village with their precarious loads, one of the signs of the returning visitors on 4 wheel and 2 legs. On the winged front, Skylarks have been heard for the last couple of weeks and I have seen them hovering over Cliff Field in the mornings, reminding me of my childhood, when I would point at the sky and shout "Lylarks", apparently. The skies have also been filled, over the last few weeks, with the most powerful demonstrations of aerobatics by the local starling population as the murmurations have become more and more dense, stunning even the villagers into silence as they gaze up, hoping to avoid a blessing in the eye.