17th – 20th January 2014 – East Anglia   Leave a comment

After leaving Cambridge on the evening of the 17th we drove to the small town of Framlingham in Suffolk where we stayed with Terry and David for two nights. Terry is an old friend of Margaret’s from Plettenberg Bay in South Africa who came to the UK in 2002 after the death of her first husband. Here she met David and they married soon after. Margaret has only recently got in touch with her so, having not seen each other for over 15 years its was a great reunion.

David and I got on very well, he is very interested in birds and wildlife and in particular bird vocalisations, he has traveled extensively around the USA and hitch-hiked and camped all around Europe, he loves music, has a great collection of blues and folk, plays the guitar and keyboards and has met many famous musicians like Dave Gilmore and Nick Mason of Pink Floyd. All of this would be quite an achievement but when you realise that David has been totally blind since the age of 12 it becomes almost unbelievable. We both agreed that David was truly inspirational.

On the 18th we spent the morning at the RSPB’s Minsmere reserve before heading north to Blythburgh and back to Framlingham.


Terry, David and Margaret in Blythburgh Church


Minsmere is the RSPB’s flagship reserve. The area was flooded in WWII to deter invasion and rare birds like the Avocet soon returned to breed. The reserve consists of extensive reedbeds, woodland, heathland and a large wetland scrape.


A view over ‘the scrape’. To the south of the reserve is Southwell B nuclear power station.


Moe unusual birds seen that day included Bittern, Marsh Harrier, Tundra Bean Goose, Peregrine and Red-throated Diver but this flock of over a thousand Lapwing wins ‘spectacle of the day’. There was a single Golden Plover in there somewhere, we did manage to find it.


A close up of a few of the Lapwings. David really appreciated hearing their haunting calls

To hear the calls of Lapwings click on this link  http://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Vanellus-vanellus


Greylag Geese where very common and unlike the birds we see in Dorset,  were wild wintering birds from Iceland. Again David appreciated their constant vocalisations.

For Greylag Goose vocalisations click on this link http://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Anser-anser


Birding done, we called in to see Blythburgh church and then visited a friend of Terry and David who lives in the village. Although a church has stood on this site since 654 the current church dates to the 12th century.


One it’s most important features is this ancient wooden ceiling with ornately carved angels.


Margaret explored a narrow spiral staircase only to find that it ended at a spy hole in the church wall.


Before we left Framlingham on the 19th we called in to see the local castle.


Later we visited the pretty village of Walberswick. I used to visit this area a lot in the 1980’s often seeing Snow Bunting and Twite in the area plus many birds of prey but today all I saw was a few Red-throated Divers offshore and a few Mediterranean Gulls.


However later that day just south of Lowestoft we came across this flock of 27 or so Snow Buntings.


They blended in perfectly with the shingle. Most British wintering Snow Buntings are of the Icelandic race insulae, but an increasing number of the Scandinavian nominate race are seen in East Anglia


A number of birds were coloured ringed. As all the colour rings were of the same type I would imagine they have been ringed locally. If I can find anything m,ore about them I will post it later.


In increasingly cold and blustery conditions we visited Lowestoft Ness, the most easterly point of the British Isles.


We stayed overnight with my friends Alan and Debbie who live in Lowestoft. Although originally from Derby and living in the same road as me, I didn’t meet Alan until we both went to Leeds University in 1969. He was one of the ‘famous five’ who lived in the decrepit slum in Fraser Terrace and we have kept in touch ever since. I met Debbie in 1974, just before they were married. As I mentioned earlier about Jennie, visits have been less frequent in recent years and the last time I saw Alan was at our ‘Leeds reunion’ in 2003.


On the 20th we called in to the seafront at Great Yarmouth where after quite some effort we located a single Horned (or Shore) Lark. Wishing to avoid rush hour chaos on the M25, we only stopped briefly in Norwich where we made another ecclesiastical visit, this time to Norwich Cathedral.


As with the other churches visited this weekend, Norwich Cathedral is a magnificent building.


Many of East Anglia’s churches had their stained glass windows destroyed by Oliver Cromwell’s troops, who considered such beautiful works to be ‘superstitious ornamentation’. Fortunately Norwich’s cathedral largely escaped unscathed.


A quick look around the cloisters before we set out on the long drive home.


Posted January 23, 2014 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: