Ivy House owner encourages guests to enjoy wildlife on their doorstep

Dr Adrian Parton, chairman and proprietor of Ivy House Country Hotel in Oulton Broad, holding one of

Dr Adrian Parton, chairman and proprietor of Ivy House Country Hotel in Oulton Broad, holding one of the baby barn owls. Picture: Courtesy of Adrian Parton. - Credit: Archant

We have had a busy few weeks at Ivy House Country Hotel with the summer season in full swing.

An aerial picture of Ivy House Country Hotel. Picture: IVY HOUSE

An aerial picture of Ivy House Country Hotel. Picture: IVY HOUSE - Credit: Archant

Patrons have been enjoying drinks in the sunshine, the restaurant has been packed and we have welcomed hundreds of people who have been guests at weddings.

On top of this I had a very welcome surprise, which started with a phone call from Matt Gooch at Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

He had noticed that a barn owl kept flying back to a tree in the grounds of Ivy House and on closer observation discovered three baby barn owls in a nest, the location of which will remain secret.

He invited me to go and observe while he ringed them and I was shown how to handle one properly.


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The ringing process normally takes place sometime between three and seven weeks old and allows experts to determine the exact age of the bird by measuring a folded wing.

Matt was able to tell that the owls were almost exactly 56 days old and were just about ready to fly the nest.

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It got me thinking about how lucky we are to have such a lot of varied wildlife in our area.

Ivy House sits on a site of Special Scientific Interest and is surrounded by 21 acres of land, as well as Suffolk Wildlife Trust's Carlton Marshes Nature Reserve.

We have taken down all the fences and we now have paths wide enough to allow visitors to have as much access as they need.

Rare species are in abundance. We have spotted Chinese water deer, fen raft spiders, Norfolk hawker dragonflies and all varieties of birds, including the marsh harrier, kingfisher, woodpecker and a water rail, whose call sounds like a squealing pig.

Our land is also home to two of the UK's rarest snails, the segmentina nitidia and anisus vorticulus.

Many of our local guests don't realise what is right on their doorstep.

We should all support the efforts by Suffolk Wildlife Trust to raise money to purchase extra land to make Carlton Marshes the largest wildlife reserve in the country.

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