October 2020 Update

Well, I hope you are all well and keeping OK.

Its been a very hectic time here for us after lockdown. Old Beans Cottage and The Bohemian Blue Hut have been fully booked up and continue to do so. With Old Beans Cottage it is now on Airbnb for the Autumn / Winter and early Spring for three nights minimum stay and then with some bookings with Norfolk Cottages in the summer, but next year where we have gaps it will be going onto Airbnb. Why? you might ask, well Norfolk Cottages take 25% off us in booking fees and Airbnb takes 3% so its a no brainer really for the business.

We will close the cottage for a week in January 2021 to get the decorators in, and builder to tidy up a few things.

The Housemartins had a very successful June and July here at Ticketyboo. Hopefully, they will be back here next year along with the Swallows. The Barn Owls are still showing very well.

Housemartin heaven
The Otters are still showing well at the bottom of the garden

May 2020 Update

The flowers at Old Beans have been a delight but seems strange that there’s not been anybody in the cottage this year to enjoy them.

I checked all the nest boxes on 17 May; we had one large Tawny Owl chick, four Kestrel eggs and the Barn Owl sitting on three eggs. So, fingers crossed.

The Barn Owl has been showing very well this season out on the water meadow, along with the Hares. The Mayfly hatch here on the 22 May was incredible, and a first with a Reed Warbler singing from the pond. Sadly there has been no sign of the Spotted Flycatcher. But on a good ending with lockdown its meant – with me being here with the return of the swallows and House Martins – that I have been able to make mud pies every day in this drought so that they can carry on nest building.

March & April 2020 Updates

Dear all

I hope you are all well and safe, and DIY jobs doing fine.

Here at Ticketyboo Cottage, all is well, and as you all know, I am very lucky to live in open space with fields, river and surrounding woods.

Like most places the sound of birds singing is amazing. Its been a great time to get a lot of jobs done at Old Beans Cottage as well as at Ticketyboo; it’s that old saying ‘like the Forth River Bridge…’.

The first Swallow was back here on the 8 April, on the same day the neighbours saw the Otter heading upstream in daylight. Lots of Brimstones, Orange Tips and Holly Blues; the Masonry Bees are again very active at Old Beans. We now wait for the return of the Spotted Flycatchers…..

All the very best


A few shots of the back of Old Beans up to present date

The Kestrels have been very noisy with bonding and food passes, and now she has gone down on eggs, so time will tell in about 28 days….

A first for the pond here at Ticketyboo, a female Reed Bunting singing out.

And another first is a Raven here in East Barsham. Its been here for two weeks and living up at the church, and can be heard calling out most days, but on several mornings its been down the lane here.


I thought I would share with you my last Filming Job in January in the Arctic Circle with Mr Ray Mears

Ticketyboo Fest has been cancelled for June 2020 and will now take place in 2021

January & February 2020 Updates

A little bit of everything with the weather. Even on Sunday 15 February with storm Dennis, which blew over trees in the nearby spinney which in turn took down the power lines, which knocked out electricity for us and several nearby villages. We were all very impressed with the UK Power Networks team that came down to fix the massive problem, which was sorted out within six hours.

The Kestrels have been in and out of their box, so next week when the winds die down, we will put new sawdust into the nest box to freshen up things; the same with the Barn Owl boxes. On Friday night a Little Owl could be heard calling out.

Hares have also been boxing in the field next door.

December 2109 Update

The Bohemian Blue Hut has had many night-time visitors, as we have been feeding the Otters down by the river.

We even had one dog Otter at 14:30 on a sunny afternoon; you just never know what’s next…

At Old Beans Cottage, the Kestrels have been in and out of their Nest Box, and the Barn Owls of a night time can be heard screeching out. They’re using the Horse Shelter and the nest box in the willow tree and also the new box. There could well be more than two owls on site.

In the Autumn and Winter we put the cottage onto Airbnb with a minimum stay of three nights; do check it out or email us on martinhaywardsmith@btinternet.com

Happy Christmas to all

October 2019 Update

The new Barn Owl nest box is now being used by the owls – so we’ve been told.

A lucky couple staying in our Shepherds hut, The Bohemian Blue Hut, where woken by  a strange sound, they looked out of the window to see three Otters playing out side in the river, a mum and two cubs…..

Like a lot of places with all the rain it has caused a lot of damage, but here it has helped the two Herons out hunting on the meadow…..

At the back of Old Beans, we have planted another 200 Tulip bulbs; looking forward to spring already…

August & September 2019 Updates

It has been a great summer for Butterflies in the garden at Old Beans Cottage, so many different varieties.

A big thank you for the donation of a Barn Owl nest box from Len and Jean who have stayed eleven times at Old Beans Cottage.The Owls have given them much viewing pleasure with their stays at the cottage.

The box was specially made by the Hawk and Owl Trust.

So on Sunday 29 September between the showers we managed to get the box into position, and take the old one away which has been in place for 22 years, and has housed many families.

Hope they like there new des res penthouse…..

June & July 2019 Updates

Running a bit late on this as I know a lot of you want to know what’s happening in the nest boxes…..

But first Chrissie on the 27th July cut down the garden Meadow, which now matches the water meadow which was cut down the week before.

The Bohemian Blue Hut which is at the bottom of the garden at Ticketyboo, was used for a fashion shot for the North Norfolk Living magazine, which has been all good PR.

On the 19th of July we had some more PR for North Norfolk Safaris which we are now running and can now be found on the website …..

On the 9th of July my good friend Phil Littler and I, ringed two Barn Owls chicks from the nest box from inside the horse shelter, which the two flying over the meadow.

Spotted Flycatchers have done well this year in the garden, with bringing up four youngsters. And have showed very well for all… photo 28th June.

Sadly with all the rain we had, the Kestrel only reared one youngster, which was ringed on the 24th of June, and can still be heard screaming out in the vicinity.

May 2019 Updates

Well we are now half way into June, and rain stops play, so here are the latest updates….

The Blue Tits in the nest boxes fledged successfully, but not so for the Great Tits in the hole in the log.

A keen pair of photographers, Len and Jean, witnessed an adult bird fly from the hole after feeding its young, only to be snatched by the resident Kestrel in the nesting box tree.

Sadly there are no Swallows nesting in the stable next door, for the second year, like wise with the eight House Martin nest boxes at Ticketyboo.

The Nest Boxes in the meadow

Checked the Kestrels nest on the 4th of June with bird ringer Phil Littler but the three small chicks where too young to ring, so hopefully next week when it stops raining.

The far nest box, in the willow tree, had Tawny Owls nesting and all have fledged. The Barn Owl nest box was checked also in the old horse shelter with Phil. The Owl was sitting tight on its nest, so will be checked again when the Kestrels are ringed.

Sunny days in May, with the ever changing back garden…

The oxeye daisies are showing well. Regular viewers will note that we have put a tree stump up on the left hand side of the fence.

This is for the Spotted Flycatcher which is at the back of my cottage hunting over my wild flowers, so hopefully this will encourage it into Old Beans….

April 2019 Updates


We have just launched North Norfolk Safaris.

So, while staying at Old Beans Cottage why not join us on an adventure….Check out northnorfolksafaris.co.uk

Old Beans Cottage
The old horse shelter has now been re roofed, so the Barn Owls now have a very dry roosting place to get out of the wind and rain, the tea chest nest box inside the shelter is being well used with lots of pellets inside.

Martin fixing the roof of the old horse shelter

The Kestrel nest box that you can view from Old Beans Cottage, has been refurbished with fresh wood chippings. Most days the pair can be seen mating in the tree, with the female then inspecting the nest box afterwards.

So, fingers crossed for another successful year.

Kestrel box ready for another year