I, like many people, thoroughly enjoyed the early end to winter as February fell into March. The normal wet, grey skies gave way to glorious sunshine and soaring temperatures, and it was great to see so many people enjoying Salhouse Broad over the half term. Birds were singing, butterflies flitted about, flowers bloomed and tree buds burst. It was idyllic. I watched long- tailed tits gather nesting materials, whilst I sat on a log and let the sun warm my back.
What is Salhouse Broad? Geographically it’s a large, freshwater lake approximately 20 acres in area and at its deepest 1.5m in depth. Biologically it’s an aquatic ecosystem, supporting a multitude of fish, invertebrates and insects, fringed by reedbed, fen and alder carr (wet woodland). Etymologically it is Old English for the shallow, reedy lake of the willow (or sallow) house (Salh-hūs Brad, literally sallow-house flat). Historically it’s a trade highway, bringing goods from the River Bure to the villages of Salhouse and Woodbastwick, with trading Wherries coming up the Wherry Cut and mooring at the staithe, near the current car park.
Happy New Year from everyone at Salhouse Broad. We’ve got some exciting developments coming up in 2019, but I think firstly we should talk about New Year’s Resolutions and why, frankly, they’re useless.
A frosty morning in December seems an odd time to talk about Global Warming, or, more appropriately, Climate Change. But with the UN Climate Change Conference happening in Poland, recent wildfires in the USA claiming dozens of lives, and the arrival of winter giving us the chance to reflect on the insanely hot and dry summer we've had, now is as good a time as any to discuss the issue.
The charm of the Halloween Horror Hunt and its sister event at Easter (to be held on Good Friday, 19th April next year) is that it’s an opportunity for families and friends to get together, have a catch up, enjoy the wonderful scenery and wildlife of the Broads, and hopefully have fun with the trail, games and arts and crafts. Those opportunities are so important for children and adults, and they’re increasingly precious in a world where many are less connected with both the natural world and their communities!
Autumn is one of my favourite seasons. There's something about an early morning on Salhouse Broad, gossamer nets of mist catching streams of the low sunlight, or the fiery colours of falling leaves spinning in a blustery wind. Mixed in with the days of grey drizzle are cool, clear nights of calm stillness. Although many species from the summer have left us to find warmer climates, we're instead joined by wintering wildfowl who have spent their own breeding seasons in Scandinavia, Siberia or Greenland. The Broads are an important area for these species, and it means it's always worth taking a walk down to Salhouse Broad even in the winter. Some of our native species are joined by migrants, for example starlings, which at this time of year form huge flocks known as murmurations. And although there's still abundant berries and nuts in the wild (this year has seen a particularly good crop of wild foods!) as the winter wears on smaller birds will rely more on garden feeders, so it's important to make sure these are cleaned and topped up regularly.