Farming and wildlife Norton Suffolk Archive

Life in Pakenham wood

Pakenham wood is an ancient woodland that was replanted in the 20th century with softwood. Despite this some of the native hardwood trees and much of the typical woodland plants have survived. Pakenham wood is being restored by gradually removing the softwood and allowing the native trees and plants re-establish. Even before the work started the wood was one of the best places to see Silver-washed fritillary butterflies in SE England.

Careful management of the woodland rides has allowed the butterflies adult and caterpillar food plants to thrive. Large numbers of Silver-washed fritillary and White admiral butterflies flying in Summer 2017 are an early indication of the success of the restoration and management.

New ponds dug in the wood have encouraged water loving insects and plants. The ponds have also been colonised by newts.

The photos below were taken during a morning walk in Pakenham wood 26th June 2017.

Brown hare lerveret running and looking. Sunny August evening Suffolk Lepus europaeus

August hares close, August Suffolk

Indentifying the moths in the trap at Halls farm

Norton Moths

Standing in the orchard at Halls farm on warm summer evening butterflies give way to many more moths as the sun sets. Some of these moths are big and colourful many more are small fast and very difficult to identify especially as it gets dark.

5 spot Burnet moth in Halls farm orchard

5 spot Burnet moth in Halls farm orchard

There are about 2500 species of moths in the UK, 900 of these are the bigger or macro moths many of which are large and beautiful. All these different moths need different habitats to live in and plants to feed on. The number of different species and total count of moths found give a good a good indication of the health and diversity of a local environment.

Because most moths come out at night they are hard to see. However, most moths are attracted by light, especially “blue light’. This summer we have running a moth trap at Halls and LLH farms Norton to record the moths living here.


Indentifying the moths in the trap at Halls farm

Indentifying the moths in the trap at Halls farm

We run the trap over night and the following morning identify the macro moths caught and the number of each species. On this page I will try to, post the recording we make through the summer. The trap is run once or twice a week and the moths released after they have been recorded. The moths settle on egg boxes in the trap and are usually quiet early morning before the sun warms them up.


Moths in the trap early July

Moths in the trap early July

Depending on how keen we get we will try to run the trap in different parts of the farms to get an overall picture of the moths living on the farms.


Brown hare stepping forward out wheat. Sunny July evening Suffolk Lepus europaeus

Brown Hares Summer 2016 Norton Suffolk

After a long cold spring Summer arrived and the long bright evening s has made the Brown hares easy to watch. There are many leverets and younger hares around , they spend a lot of time interacting and chasing each other.

Barn owl turning to look round, sunny june evening after rain Suffolk. Tyto alba

Barn owls summer 2016

After a poor breeding year in 2015 the Barn owls at Halls farm and Little Haugh farm in Norton Suffolk are having a good year in 2016. There seems to be a high vole population and the owls are  hunting very successfully.

We will start to check the breeding boxes over the next few weeks , come back to hear the results.

Barn owl flying wing pattern. April morning Suffolk. Tyto alba

Spring Barn owls in the Black Bourn valley Suffolk

Brown Hare jogging close face on, April evening Suffolk. Lepus europaeus

Spring Brown hares in action Norton 2016

Brown hare running on one foot. Sunny August morning Suffolk. Lepus europaeus

Late summer hares, Norton Suffolk

By August the oil seed rape and many of the oats fields have been harvested and the brown hares move back into the game cover planted round the farms. These hares were photographed  early August in and around the game mix areas.

Brown hare sitting close at dawn, March Suffolk. Lepus europeanus

Spring Brown hares, Norton 2015

As the days grow longer the brown hares at Norton are easier to see. It has been a long wet winter and on surrounding farms hare have ben shot. The hares are nervous and shy but as time passes they relaxing a little. I will keep watching and adding images to this page.

Brown Hare, foot up, evening hay meadow, Suffolk. Lepus europaeus

Winter Hares at Halls farm Norton

Brown hares that were easy to see in October seem to vanish during November and the short days of December. They are of course still at Halls and Little haugh farms but as the weather gets colder and the days shorter Hares shelter more in field edges, woodland and hedges. Brown hares do come out in the fields to feed at the same time but at 6pm in December it is dark and they are only glimpsed in the sweep of car headlights. Running into February the light increases noticeably every day and the winter crops that have been dormant start to grow again, many of the “mole hills” in these fields turn into hares when seen through binoculars. The heavy clay Suffolk soil is saturated by weeks of rain, footprints become puddles in minutes, to avoid the wet and mud hares prefer feeing and resting in grassland on the farms. The images below were taken in the rough tussocky meadows behind the farm yard where hares can keep their feet out of the mud. Hares are starting to be seen in pairs in this meadow is a sure sign that March and spring is not far away.