• White heron

    A small white heron is a regular winter visitor to Brampton’s grazing meadows. The Little Egret used to be relatively uncommon in Norfolk and it’s visits in the 1960’s caused excitement in the bird watching fraternity. Now it seems to have suffer the curse of the commonplace – it is no longer rare enough to create the same level of excitement. However, it is a welcome guest to the water meadows here. It’s white plumage standing out in the Wintery greys and greens of the Meadows along the Mermaid river. The Egret’s yellow feet contrast strongly with it’s mainly black legs. It can be seen resting in a tall Ash tree or stealthily fishing in the river margins. Occasionally a second Egret appears on the scene. This usually signals the coming of Spring and the time to move back to the coast, perhaps to the breeding colony at Holkham.


  • Birdsong returns to the village, briefly

    This morning, for seemingly the first time in weeks, bird song returned to the garden. Firstly, a hardy and optimistic Song Thrush took up a favourite perch high in a Maple and practiced his lines. Then Robins duetted. All was noise and song for about half an hour until the rains returned.

    Every field is beyond saturation point. We watch the River Bure wondering how much more run-off water it can take. Puddles are too large to step around and the rain has an edge of cold which makes us scurry the dogs around before seeking sanctuary in the house.

  • Carol singing 2012

    On Christmas Eve the Brampton Carol Singers abandoned their warm cottages in order to sing their way around the village. The choir of ten sang innumerable carols on their three hours tour and due to the generosity of villages raised a significant amount in favour of their chosen charity, Quidenham Children’s Hospice. In fact theory are still collecting and the final total will not be know for a while. Grateful thanks to all of you who were generous and hospitable during the evening. The evening ended with a short service at St Peter’s Church at which the now well-rehearsed Carols were given a further airing.

  • Winter solstice

    Even as another smear of rain blows in our faces and the Winter mood appears to darken further, there are signs of life and the hint of preparation. The Ash’s black buds glisten and promise something for the future. Bullfinches work the new hedges at Low Farm and the contact calls of a distant group of Golden Plover drift through the murk.

    In the village, the scent of wood smoke drifts along the Street. Cottages are decorated and floral decorations have appeared in the church for Christmas, everyone clings on to the light on the shortest day.

  • Brightness of sound

    The stars shone with absolute clarity on Monday night. As I let the dogs out into the garden the bright spark of Jupiter dominated the sky. With a pair of binoculars I could clearly make two of Jupiter’s attendant moons before the cold drove me back indoors. These dry cold nights are the most rewarding for star gazers, so many more stars and galaxies flow into vision. But it is not just the stars which are clear, the sound world itself also becomes sharper and brighter.

    It was not until the small hours that the shrill call of a vixen came like a sharp jab through an open window. Foxes are very vocal at this time of the year, their territorial part scream part bark can come as a surprise to the unaware. The vixen travels over considerable distances calling constantly as they map out the night time geography of their patch. As I lay in bed listening the sound map of the railway line and the vixen’s wider circuit was delivered by the regular repetitive call. This carried on until the air could no longer transmit the most distant call.

  • Ash tree disease in Brampton

    It has been noted that a number of Ash trees in the parish appear to be suffering with die-back. Advice and decisions will bill be taken in the Spring.

    One of the Brampton Ash trees that appears to be suffering from die-back.
  • Tree planting

    The Parish Council has just planted a Walnut Tree near the bus shelter. This tree was given to the parish by the Conservation Team at Broadland District Council and has been planted to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

    The tree being planted on Dec 1st 2012 copyright Brampton Parish Council
  • Night visitors to the garden

    I woke with a start to the insistent “shush..!” of the librarian. Until I managed to collect my thoughts, I was transported briefly back to the Reynold’s Library – that silent school sanctuary of o-level revision and homework. But with a start I realised that I was listening to the sound of night visitors to the garden and as I became more alert, I heard the sound repeated. This time less the human and the more animalistic. Now, again, with an answering call which only slightly varied in pitch. It was the same sound for which we had paused to listed for a few moments near the old farm buildings – sometimes a hiss, sometimes a screech. These were the roost contact calls of Barn Owls.

    The owls were hunting over the now deserted gardens, quartering the deserted lawns, driveways,mushers and beds and gentle calling to one another as they went. The sound sneaking through the open window of the sleeping house. Their visit drawn by the gathered presence of rats and mice which had deserted the now depleted fields and hedgerows. Perhaps a less welcome thought than that of the school librarian’s insistent order. In this slightly sleep addled way I drift back to sleep

  • Death in the village – the probable loss of Ash trees

    The slow death of a 100 year old Ash tree in the village is surely due to the currently rampant Chalara fraxinas infection – although this has yet to be proven. I have been watching it’s slow decline over the last two years or so, initially just the tips of the branches, but last year the dieback was noticeably dominant. The tree, in some firm of emergency measure, sprouted secondary “epicormic” growth from the larger branches, but this summer even those have failed. By the autumn the few leaves it could produce were on lower branches which had sprung from the root or thereabouts. By this autumn these leaves were withering in the manner shown on the Forestry Commission’s identification sheets. I now wait for the Forestry Commission to asses the tree properly.

    I do not think that this is the only tree infected – there is another mature specimen showing similar symptoms, but not as advanced. It is a concern of course that a number of the others in the parish are already infected. This is highly likely. The real question t ask is whether any will have a much-hoped for resistance. The landscape is certainly going to change.

  • Autumn sharpener

    Overnight, hail hit the roof lights like shrapnel. Squalls scudded through the village, driven by a sharp northern wind. Before dawn, at one minute Jupiter glistened in a crystal clear sky, the next another hail-laden cloud rushed in.

    Later in the morning, winter visitors in the form of Fieldfares, have arrived in the old Elm hedge. Woodpigeons are battered by the wind and surf ahead of the breeze. The coloured leaves of Ash and Field Maple have been scattered and Hawthorn lay in yellow pools around their mother plant. This is Autumn with a barely concealed shard of Winter.

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