It can’t be often that Hall Road is the busiest place in West Bergholt. But at 03.40 on Sunday 7 May I would be fairly confident that this was the case, as seemingly floods of cars arrived for this year’s Dawn Chorus walk. That is certainly what it felt like!
And so 24 of us assembled in the pitch dark, with most of us wondering quite what they had let themselves in for, and me wondering why on earth I volunteered to get up at such an appalling time each year. Continue reading →
On Saturday 22 April I led this year’s spring flower nature walk to Hillhouse wood. The forecast was for OK weather, so we hoped that a decent number of people would come along. As 2 pm approached, numbers swelled, and by the time it was time to start it was clear that Chris Stephenson’s publicity machine had been on overdrive. Forty seven people were present, which was the largest group I can remember. I was going to be doing a lot of shouting (no change there, some would say). Continue reading →
Over the years this particular walk has been one of the more variable in terms of the numbers who turn up – spending a few hours watching birds in a biting wind on a cold winter’s day is not always the most inviting prospect. So I was glad to see that the forecast for this year’s walk was for relatively balmy spring-like weather. My optimistic view was reinforced by the amount of noisily busy bird behaviour we had observed on the previous day’s work party.
On 16 October I ran the fourth (I think) Autumn Fruits nature walk around and through Hillhouse Wood, near West Bergholt. The fact that I am able to make this statement is a slight surprise, because the previous evening’s weather forecast had heavy rain bang on the time of the walk, and light rain for an hour either side. On which basis I had anticipated being on my own. Continue reading →
This year Naturetale has again run its offer of a day out spotting wild flowers with our team for someone who has bought the app. This year’s winner was Monika Koch of Wild Adventures under Suffolk’s Skies and Stars of Suffolk. Most helpfully, the area around Monika’s base at Aldburgh, Suffolk has some great wild flower locations – and as Monika organises nature walks she knows exactly where these are.
And so it was that Richard and I headed over to Aldburgh (or, more accurately, Snape) on Saturday 6 August. Continue reading →
Over the last few years the Friends has developed a slick and effective ability to publicise our activities, particularly the guided walks. So it was another ‘first’ when the publicity for the Dawn Chorus walk, err, didn’t happen. In an organisation with the scale, complexity and dynamism of the Friends there is always the risk that inter-departmental communication may go awry. And so it appears that our Outreach and Publicity Division were not made aware of the date of this walk – according to its Global Vice President of Communications. Our Operations and Delivery Division had forgotten to tell them! Maybe we need a new ‘cloud based’ technology platform? One for the next committee meeting!
So, exhibiting impressive fleetness of foot and responsiveness (for an organisation of our size) we used our stand at the church, the previous afternoon, to tell passing visitors to the wood about the Dawn Chorus walk. And so nine people (plus a well behaved collie) turned up – not the largest group, but very pleasing in the circumstances and, actually, better for bird listening than larger groups. Continue reading →
The morning of Saturday 27 February was cold, dank and a bit dismal – not at all inviting. So naturally 15 people turned out for the 2016 Winter Birds guided walk in Hillhouse Wood, West Bergholt. This was the largest number that I can recall for this walk. It is one of the most variable of the ones I lead, both in terms of what we see and how many attend. One year there was just two of us. I was glad to see that Linda Firmin, Jo’s widow, had turned up, as if there is anything to see she will spot it.
In early October I led the third of my Autumn Fruits walks in and around Hillhouse Wood, near West Bergholt. These walks focus on berries and nuts, but also cover whatever else we find along the way. Continue reading →
16th May was that dreaded time of year when the alarm goes off at 3.20 am. Actually I’m coming to the conclusion that the worst part of the experience is when you set the alarm for 3.20, knowing that it will go off in barely 4 hours time. This year it was immediately noticeable that the sky was not totally dark, indicating an absence of any cloud. A good start.