Sunday, 24 June 2012

Rockland New Inn: rocking again

New Inn 2012/2

THE NEW INN at Rockland St Mary is a good place to be at the moment. I was there on Monday evening and all the signs were good. A packed car park, busy bar staff and a  landlord with a smile on his face. I popped in on Wednesday too and there was the same sort of vibe. Real ale being supped, darts being thrown and that intangible, yet instantly recognisable hum of a happy boozer. Mick and Paula Walker have been in place for some eight months now. To me, they’re doing everything right.

* More on Mick and Paula here

* New Inn website here

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Langley Staithe: my drivetime barn owl

barn owl

IT’S been three visits in a fortnight and I’ve seen him every time. With barn owls rare, and getting rarer, this sort of bird-watching almost feels like cheating. I rock up in the car after work, walk along the path to the right of the dyke at Langley and scan the grazing marshes which run towards the Yare in the distance. And he’ll be there. Quartering the fields and occasionally plunging vertically to earth in search of his prey. Is he succeeding? I can’t tell with my basic bins. Do they eat the animal there and then or take it back to the nest? I’m too new to this natural history lark to have the answers. But as a short open-air spectacle after a long air-conditioned day, you can’t beat it.

*Photo by Nigel Blake taken from the RSPB website. More on barn owls from them here.