Thursday, 19 July 2012


Gemma and I spent today in Wayland Prison again, and again we were delighted to work with a friendly bunch of prisoners and staff. Here are a few snippets from our day:

1) A female hobby flew over on stiletto wings. I've said it many times before but what a bird!

2) In a discussion of the great crested newt we inadvertently caught while pond-dipping on Tuesday:

Marsh tit: We released it immediately of course, as handling or disturbing them is against the law.

Bright young prisoner (with a twinkle in his eye): We're not too bothered about that round here.

3) As I reached the slide of a great spotted woodpecker in an illustrated talk on common Norfolk birds:

Young prisoner (same one as above, still with a twinkle in his eye): How long does it take them to make a hole?

Marsh tit: Are you planning to drill your way out with a woodpecker?

Much laughter from assembled company, including young prisoner.

4) On a walk in the rain in search of birds:

Marsh tit: Can you hear the woodpigeon?

Young prisoner (same as above, eyes still twinkling): I can't hear f*** all.

5) The rain grew heavier so we gave up on birds and moved to plants, which have the advantage of staying still. We examined chicory, we sniffed hedge woundwort (yeuch), we peered through the leaves of perforate St-John's-wort, we smelled the sharp scent-trail of a fox and we got very wet. We also enjoyed ourselves enormously, all of us, prisoners, staff, naturalists and a marsh tit.

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