The Waterland

Life and Death on the Marshes

‘Something up there!‘ Mrs Waterland announces while nudging her elbow into my arm. I look up and see a Kestrel hovering over the path to our left.  ‘Oh yes, well spotted‘ I reply as I move slowly closer and ready my camera. The Kestrel does not seem to be aware of our presence, or me shuffling closer to it, as it hovers, transfixed by something on the ground. I continue to edge forward and then the raptor suddenly begins it’s […]

A Beautiful Ballet…

There are many areas in the UK that are amazing environments for wildlife. Some I have visited and lots more I’d love to visit. If only there were enough years in a lifetime!  However, my first love and, somehow, my ‘home’ even when I didn’t live here, has always been the Norfolk Broads.  When I had the opportunity to move away from the London suburbs to the countryside, Norfolk was an easy first choice. And so here I find myself, […]

Butterflies, Bees and Goat Willow Trees…

Welcome to Waterland base camp.  This is where we moor Grey Goose III and, in the finest naval tradition, we will be spending the day bringing provisions and supplies aboard so she will be ready to embark on many voyages on the Norfolk Broads this year.  On arrival we are greeted by a friendly Robin, who’s song is full of the promise of Spring.  Under blue skies and a warm sun we are encouraged to get everything loaded as soon as […]

A Walk in the Winter Woods…

Over the last few days I’ve been listening to an audio-book called ‘The Hidden Life of Trees‘ by Peter Wohlleben. If you read or listen to this book, two things are likely to happen; 1/ It will change the way you think about trees, and 2/ You will want to go the woods. Well, that’s what happened to me anyway… So here we are… …on a cold and overcast February afternoon, atop a hill on the edge of Bacton Woods. Through […]

Under the Stars and Dreaming

1981, Cheam, Surrey… “Dad”  I whisper… “Dad!!” I repeat more urgently after a few seconds of silence… “Yes, what?” ‘Tracy next door is staring at us through their bathroom window!‘  I explain, stifling a giggle. “I know” he quietly replies – and I catch a glint in his eyes as he looks towards me and adds  ‘pretend you didn’t notice, she’s just trying to work out what we’re doing…‘ I turn away from the figure of our neighbour’s daughter, standing on […]

Winter Waterland… The River Bure at Oxnead

Early in the morning… Eyes blinking, I twist open the blinds and wait for my pupils to adjust as light streams into the darkened room. Peering through the slats, my brain, still trying to jump-start itself awake, begins to process the visual cues as they come into focus… Our garden sparkles with frost, and beyond, a pale sun is rising through a low level mist into a deep blue sky. I hastily get dressed.  ‘Do you want to come?‘ I ask […]

The Wonderful Colours of Autumn…

A walk by the river… I just love an Autumn sunset!  They tend to be more dramatic than Summer sunsets.  I don’t know why, but in my quest to start noticing things – that’s something I’ve noticed! One of the great things about nature is it gives you something to look forward to in every season.  I’m really just starting to learn about and experience what each season brings as I try to be more aware of what’s happening around me. […]

Upton Marshes… Wildlife Walks on the Norfolk Broads

After the walk… I cannot resist a final glance across the marshes before clambering back aboard Grey Goose III. The sun has set behind us and there is now a hint of mist rising from the watery lowlands.  Owned by Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Upton Marshes are managed with the aim of attracting and providing a home for all sorts of wildlife and it is working. Rarely have I seen such an abundance of life on any walk. A public footpath follows the […]

The Bounty of the River…

Welcome aboard the Waterland wildlife tour boat.  We are making our way along the River Ant, near Wayford Bridge, through the now familiar countryside of grazing marshland and reeds.  Friendly moos are exchanged with a small herd of Highland Cows we have come to know as we continue on a southerly course. Soon the welcome sight of Hunsett Mill greets us and we follow the twists and turns of the now tree-lined river, through Sutton Fen and, before long, pass ‘The […]

White Ghost of the Marshes…

‘Barn Owl’ I whisper to Mrs Waterland as we walk along the river from West Somerton.  To our right, what I think is a male Barn Owl is criss-crossing the marshes, looking for prey. I have been lucky enough to film Barn Owls, once near Coltishall and a few times at Blickling, but I’ve never photographed one before.   I know their keen senses are finely tuned to detect sound and motion so it will easily hear the shutter noise […]