A Suffolk Punch


You were expecting a horse weren't you!

I was far afield again. Seems quit a while since a travelling report. This time it was Suffolk. Somewhere I've been before but not the same places. Which was nice. It began with a serendipitous ramble around the area to see what I could find. Well actually it began with eye to eye contact with a Peregrine on a hedge as I drove around. We had one of those moments when you both look at each other in amazement! There was a small lay-bye up ahead so I stopped and crept back with my camera. Unfortunately there was not going to be a 'Kite' moment this time.

The best I got of the Peregrine

Not to worry, onward and upwards. I headed straight for the largest Forest in the area. Thetford Forest. I had only heard of Thetford Porta potti and fluid from my campervan days I'm not sure if its named after it!
So driving into the depths my eye caught sight of something that really got my juices flowing. I've always had a soft spot for Armoured vehicles in particularly tanks. Used to make them as a kid. I find them beautiful. To me beauty comes from the functional.
It was a monument to the 7th Armoured Division or Desert Rats who trained in these Cromwell tanks in 1944. Excuse my indulgence.
(Nerd Alert: The training was for the invasion of Europe however this tank was not used in the initial D-day landings since it does not have the gunnery numbers around the turret used to guide the gunners while firing from the landing craft)

Cromwell Tank

In youth you suspend reality and focus on those things that excite you. Age brings knowledge and you realise the true meaning of things. I have the utmost respect for those that served in these monsters.
There is a very nice walk through the woods near this monument showing remnants of the camp at which they stayed. It was here that I met another monster.

Muntjac Deer

They are cute little things which if, like me, you haven't seen one before its quite a shock. Is it a dog, a rabbit, a hare, a deer? Oh its a very small deer. Their not shy either its just that they tend to wander round in the undergrowth.

View from a Trench

Tree Creeper

Path through the woods

Beautiful and contemplative as it was there was little activity so I pressed on. On to RAF Lakenheath where there were some migrants from over the pond.

The experimental triple F15

Just taxiing you can feel the power

This was rather impressive 

It was here that I met a guy called Peter Walton who was pleased to explain what the planes were. (I'm a tank guy not a plane guy!) He also pointed me in the direction of a local reserve that could offer a bit more in the way of bird life. Thanks Peter. So I headed for somewhere else!

Next stop was Aspal Close Reserve. This turned out to be a bit of a normal park. Fantastic Tolkienesque Oak trees over 400 years old but little else save for a pair of Jays which flew close and slow but I just looked, sorry!

400 year old Pollarded Oaks

Off I went to the final destination and what a destination it was to. I loved it. Its called Lackford Lakes. A wonderful large reserved based in an old quarry with a visitor centre with tea and cakes. I thoroughly recommend it.

Canadas looking good

Erm THIS flew passed!!

What a sight for sore eyes.

I weaved my way through all the hides. Now if there was one fault it would be a lack of screens. I'm not a fan of hides. I don't like going to the big wide outside and sit in a shed. Give me a screen either side of the hide and I can see up. Birds do have a habit of flying and a hide isn't good for that!!

Ok ok I don't go looking for this ok!! I can't help it if Herons tend to gather where ever I go...........

Four Herons and a Little Egret

Eight Herons (Look in the top left hand corner) and a Little Egret

Ten Herons and a Little Egret!

Greylags looking good

It was here that I met Nobby. An nice guy who, through his rather strong Suffolk accent, I learnt about all the local stuff that turns up. Including forty plus Marsh Harriers spotted at the Lakenheath Reserve! It was here we saw a Raven harrying a Sparrow Hawk. The good stuff is always far away isn't it!

Raven and Sparrow hawk

Raven and Sparrow Hawk

Blue Tit smelling the flowers!

This caught my eye

SHEEP! (or are they goats?)

Fine Mallard

One of the many lakes

The local stars of the show at the moment, a pair of Oyster Catchers

The Black Headed Gulls were raucous!

Looking good boys

Either common round here or no one spotted this Egyptian Goose

Another star of the day, one of a pair of Shelducks

A first for me, a Common Gull

Common Gull


With things dying down I decided to do a bit of aerial shot practice. Now what could I possibly take a pop at? Ah of course. The ever present Black Headed Gull. Plenty to choose from.

Black Headed Gull

Black Headed Gull

Black Headed Gull

It was home time and the sun was going golden. On the way back I spied this guy on the wrong side of the tracks. He was across the small stream in the golf course.

Another Egyptian Goose

This must have been somethings home. A Woodpecker?

Another Muntjac Deer

These babies were landing close by at RAF Mildenhall

A great trip out with maybe not that much in wildlife but still lots to see. What was that we said about Nature being on the side of the big guns?

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