Winter at Holkham

Brenda writes: “As I stood on the steps of Holkham Hall this morning before the ‘Canine Carols’ someone said, ‘You must feel like the Vicar of Dibley sometimes.’ Absolutely, but for me that’s the best part of rural ministry. This event, now in its third year, is such fun and we had lots of dogs …

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A top bird at Tophill Low

Having stayed overnight near Newcastle I headed further south this morning to the confusingly name nature reserve of Tophill Low. I’ve not been here before, but it’s a Yorkshire Water facility, with a large pumping station, and several reservoirs, pus large areas being run for nature. It’s pretty isolated and the amount of good habitat …

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Mammals

There were no wildlife sightings today from either of us, but I was thinking about the mammals that we’ve seen this year. It’s not been a bad list really, though there are several missing that I would like to have seen. For deer we’ve seen red, roe, fallow, muntjac and Chinese water. We’ve had hedgehog, …

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Brenda’s moth choices

Brenda writes: “My turn to do my top ten moths. The buff tip is right up there and I do love the hawk-moths but there are humbler and sometimes very much smaller moths that I think are so cool… Peppered moth: Settles with its wings open with a totally unique shape, instantly recognisable. Every one …

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yellowhammer

No Northern Lights

I’m looking forward to being able to work on the garden areas of our Scottish house over the coming years in order to try to attract wildlife. I have some nestboxes which I plan to put up in the new year, and we have ideas for insect “hotels” and various plants that might attract butterflies …

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Afterglow

Brenda writes: “Today we had sunshine and, after setting up Warham’s nativity ready for tomorrow’s carol service at All Saints, I took a walk down the lane towards Wighton, crossing the River Stiffkey as I did. They say the river used to be navigable and pilgrims to Walsingham would alight at the village and walk …

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Finch forays

Brenda writes: “I get the impression that the humans are not the only ones appreciating the break from almost continuous rain. In our back garden there’s a mixed flock of finches – goldfinch, chaffinch and greenfinch – based on the old hawthorn tree over the fence, and making forays to the surrounding roofs and gardens. …

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Loch Spynie

I headed up to Loch Spynie mid-morning and had a couple of hours there. There were plenty of birds on the feeders by the car park, including two great spotted woodpeckers – perhaps I detected a little rivalry between them as to who was going to get the food! There were a reasonable number of …

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Wrens and sparrows

Sadly I’ve caught a nasty cold over the weekend at Benslow and am now streaming. The silver lining is that as I’m in Scotland and Brenda is still in Norfolk at least she stands a chance of not getting a cold in the busy lead up to Christmas, when she’s taking multiple services! I didn’t …

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Busy blue tits

Brenda writes: “My favourite chair is by a window facing the back garden. Recently I’ve been puzzled by a repeated tapping noise coming from outside. This morning I found out what was causing it as I watched two blue tits working their way along the struts of the greenhouse winkling out, hopefully, tasty morsels from …

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