Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The Ovington Ramblers: New Buckenham Common

Maureen Simmons

Today our chosen walk was at New Buckenham Common. We approached the Common by the side of a row of Horse Chestnut trees a few of which had shed the sticky portion of their buds and chunky, green, neatly folded leaves were beginning to emerge indicating Spring to be around the corner even if the temperature didn't indicate the same.

The terrain of the Common was interesting with undulating hillocks and dips - almost looked like a BMX track! We soon came to a boggy area with many small ponds. After excessive rain of recent days we wondered if this might be the reason for their presence and if many might dry out at other times of the year. We couldn't spot any frog spawn but then it could possibly be too early and temperatures not high enough. We did see some valiant buttercups in full bloom plus a very cheery bank of yellow gorse. The thickets of bramble/gorse and hawthorn seemed to be harbouring many birds - we could hear great tits with their bicycle pump impressions. It looked a very protected area for nesting and judging by the noise, lots of birds had made it their choice of des.res. for that purpose.

We walked by the large mere and noted alder trees with their richly coloured catkins growing by the side of the water .We crossed over a swiftly flowing stream and saw ferny looking foliage floating in the water like green feathers - could this be the notorious parrot feather weed or was it something quite innocent? The end of our circular walk took us over quite flat but still wet ground and then we saw our bonus for the day - a large barn owl flying close to the ground. A wonderful sight!

This was definitely a place to return to later in the year especially to see the orchids for which the area is known.

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