Having unexpectedly found time to savour the view from his kitchen window, Nature Reserves Officer at Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Robert Morgan is enjoying his garden’s annual revival, and the hope of more distant wildlife being visible. 

I am reminded of W. H. Davies’ poem “What is this life, if full of care, we have no time to stop and stare.”        

Blackbird, by David Savory

I am lucky enough to have a garden with room for a pond and small ‘wild area’. The frogs have done their bidding and several large heaps of spawn bob about in the sunny end of the pond. Blue tits are back and forth with moss from the lawn to the bird box, blackbirds are squabbling over shrubbery ownership, and a greenfinch’s jingling call is repeated tirelessly from the silver birch. The wildflowers by the log pile are tentatively popping their heads up, ready to smile at the warming sun.

Nature has a way of both calming and exciting in equal measure; a connection with wildlife and green spaces has overwhelming benefits for our health and wellbeing. Whether you are self-isolating or a hectic key-worker, finding a few hours to spend with nature can create a feeling of normalisation during troubling times.

Relating with nature can be limited, but NWT will continue to update our website with news and pictures as spring bursts out around us. You can even help us by contributing to our house sparrow and starling survey, suppling vital information about their presence in and around your garden.

We have also been working to install cameras to enable us to transmit film of nesting bird activity to our website including a very special set up that was built just in time.

The delightful bearded tit is about the size of a robin and lives in the reedbeds, like at NWT Hickling Broad and Marshes. Males are a rich tawny-brown above with a pale blue-grey head. The wings are darker brown, with bold black and white patches, but its most noticeable feature is the magnificent Victorian gent’s ‘waxed moustache’ hanging from either side of the birds yellow bill.

Bearded tits, by Paul Norton

Our fabricated nests are a simple design of several reed bundles tied to a long post and then a cavity is formed inside: this seems to prove irresistible to nesting ‘beardies’. In one of these artificial nests a discreet miniature camera has been set up prior to a pair taking residency.

This is the first time that we have attempted filming bearded tits and we hope that live footage and sound will be captured and with luck provide close-up views of their behaviour.

Elsewhere around Norfolk, a high definition webcam is currently showing live feeds from NWT Weeting Heath: you can lookout for the first migrating stone curlews arrival from Africa and then follow their trials and tribulations from eggs hatching to the chicks leaving the nest. Live pictures are also available from NWT Cley Marshes wader pool; and live from the new tern raft at NWT Ranworth Broad, where you can check on the excitement of their lively jostling colony.   

Whether in your back garden or following online, there is no holding back spring and the promise of nature re-born.

Header image by Paul Taylor
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