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The TAPS wildlife blog - a Strictly winner and a visit to Cley

Hello everyone, TAPS Wildlife Watchers here, back with our latest blog.

We’re starting to see the first signs of spring in the air here at Dereham! Our pairs of blackbirds have had their first brood, we have seen a large fledgling being fed by both parents. We’re sure there'll be more. Some birds such as robins start nest building as early as January, and long tailed tits in early February. Magpies can start November and pigeons can be anytime. But most of our garden\woodland birds start in March\April, including dunnocks, bluetits, great tits, greenfinch, and chaffinch to name a few. We have shared some of Claire's photos so that you can look out for them in your gardens and on woodland walks.

TAPS March 24 montage

Montage of Claire's photos

Insects also started to appear in March. We’ve seen the odd bumble bee around as well as some butterflies (brimstone, holly blue and a red admiral) and some flies. In late March hedgehogs will have been waking up from their long sleep, and bats will follow early April. Badgers don't hibernate but spend more time underground in the colder months.

We’re looking forward to seeing more baby birds, also the return of more butterflies and dragonflies. We will be making a moth trap but don't worry, they don’t harm the moths, they fly into the light, then settle in the trap where we can get a closer look before releasing them.

Claire was excited to meet Hamza Yassin at the science festival in Norwich, where he did a very interesting talk about his wildlife photography and film work. He signed a picture for TAPS which now has pride of place on our wall, alongside Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan. He also signed Claire's copy of his book Be a Birder, which in a lovely little book about his life and over 50 birds. Most people know Hamza from winning Strictly Come Dancing 2022, but we all know and love him for his wonderful wildlife photography \ camera work and Countryfile. Claire said he was a very nice, friendly, lovely, knowledgeable man, and really enjoyed the talk.

Claire with Hamza, and the TAPS with the signed photo

Claire with Hamza, and the TAPS with the signed photo

We are spending some time at the end of our wildlife sessions reading a book called Wonderland, a Year of Britain's Wildlife, while googling the photos of each day. A nice end to our day!

We have lots of trips out planned this year and went on our first one at the end of March to one of our favourite places: NWT Cley & Salthouse Marshes. While there we were lucky enough to see an exhibition of the work of Robert Gilmore who lived in Cley from 1998 and produced lots of artwork from his time there.

This brings us to the end of our blog, enjoy the new life and wildlife as we enter our favourite season. Until next time, keep watching wildlife and help where you can. If you’ve any queries of wildlife in your garden, take a picture and we'll try to identify it for you!

Best wishes, Lucie, Jasmine, Tim, Stephen, Mark, Justin, Helen and Claire

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