Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Norfolk - Part 2

Eagerly anticipated I'm sure, part 2 has arrived. Don't read it all at once.

Day 3 - 02/05

Day 3 got off to a kind of a false start. A 3am kind of a false start. A screaming toddler at 3am in the tent behind ours at 3am kind of a false start in fact. All four weary adventurers agreed the stars were very pretty, but not as pretty as sleep. Plans to leave at 7am the next morning duly got ignored. But I did hear a Tawny Owl.

Even when the sun reawoke me at half five the birds were determined to get their share of the noise in. A single Cuckoo call heard at the moment of waking from inside the tent was the cue for 15 minutes of intent but fruitless listening to Collared Doves and a fair bit of self doubt (later resolved by Parus who also heard it). Ended up getting up at 7am, which still wasn't bad going in the circumstances.

So plans were reshuffled slightly and we toddled off to Moreston harbour for a date with some seals at Blakeney Point. This started with a quick wander round Moreston, which produced the ubiquitous Brent Geese (c.150), Oystercatchers and Gulls, several shy Skylarks and a perching Meadow Pipit.

Less Black Backed trying to eat inedible crap. They don't change.

Our mysterious and conveniently anonymised partners in crime for the trip.

The trusty vessels.

The boat trip to the seals was full of waders (flypast Curlew) and Terns - I learned a lot about Terns on this particular morning - though at the time I didn't know what kind. Probably all of them. We then saw some seals. What is about to follow feels almost like cheating. Is it even possible to take a bad picture of a seal? Who cares, behold their awesomeness:

Mostly Common seals, but there was a Grey among them distinguishable by his roman nose. I like seals.

A stop on Blakeney Point itself gave up its best sighting right at the off as a female long-tailed duck flew overheard and landed a few hundred yards out on the water. Usually this is prime scoping territory, but of course the scopes were in the car boot back on the mainland. My photos were quite pathetic, so you'll have to take my word for it. Also on the island were Linnets (3 that I saw), Chiffchaff, a single Ringed Plover and, of course, Terns everywhere. I was duly educated as we stood on the beach and watched them fly past - we picked up 4 species, Common, Arctic, Little and Sandwich. On the trip back I utterly failed to see a Med Gull - I think I've found my new bogey bird.

We headed back via the Holkham estate, and I fear my girlfriend's expectations have now been set rather high. "I could definitely do something with that" she said.

If her plans involve anything more than photographing it I fear she will be disappointed.

Still, even I'll admit that the grounds were rather nice. Got my first photos of Egyptian Geese, saw an untickable Ruddy Shelduck (but still very much a lifer) and heard a Marsh Tit. Also picked up my first ever Treecreeper though I missed the best views, and on the way out we were treated to an also untickable herd of Fallow Deer.

Weird looking things.

Untickable or not, it's cool to have seen one.

My knowledge of deer consists largely of what I picked up watching Bambi, so I'm happy to accept the word of others on the identification.

I have a 'Misc' section for each day in my notes. It's stuff that's worth writing down, but that didn't turn up at a conveniently labelled site. Today's is particularly good and worthy of mention. Barn Owl (seen hunting over a field - awesome), Buzzard (a distant speck against the sky, but still a neat tick) and bizzarely, Stoat.

Sod it, if I do Titchwell AND Lakenheath here it'll be huge.

Keep your eyes peeled for part 3...

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