Saturday, 9 May 2009

Norfolk - Part 1

Right, not sure how I'm going to do this but I'll work it out as I go along.

Day 1 - 30/04

The first things I noticed on arrival at the campsite were Swallows. Everywhere. They'd quite happily fly between two people standing talking, and it was easily the best view I've ever had of a hunting Swallow. Good sign of things to come. We also had some very tame and friendly Pied Wagtails who were pecking about all over the site.

Unsurprisingly, Swallows in flight proved to be impossible with my camera. This is sadly the best of them.

If anyone can identify this moth caterpillar please do

Last but certainly not least, I picked up my first life tick of the trip with a couple of Red Legged Partridge in the next field. It's nice being fairly new to the hobby - everything non-local is a life tick.

And I would wholeheartedly recommend the White Horse pub in Deepdale Village to any that are staying in the area.
  • There is nice local real ale.

  • The food is excellent in the restaurant (if a little expensive, but it is proper cuisine).

  • They have an awesome terrace out the back where you can see many birds out on the marshland by the coast from the comfort of the pub, with a pint in hand.

  • Their local Song Thrush should be on TV. What an impressionist.

We spent a very pleasant early evening celebrating the start of the holiday in style and trying to guess what the Thrush was impersonating. We picked out mostly Waders, with the occasional Seagull thrown in, but he is brilliant. Go see him. Also out on the sands were Brent Geese (dark bellied), 2 Weegret, Oystercatchers (these things turned up everywhere), Avocet and a flypast by about 25 Black Tailed Godwit. Sitting in the pub picking up ticks is definitely the way to bird.

Day 2 - 01/05

A trip down the coast to Cley, where many ticks were collected. Highlights were the perching Sedge Warbler putting on a fantastic show for the masses and hearing a booming Bittern for the first time. No sign of the Green-Winged Teal who was apprently in the area, but I won't be losing any sleep over it. He was probably out there somewhere hiding in the heat haze. I personally managed to add a very distant Pochard to the site's 'birds seen today' board, which pleased me inordinately.

Sedge Warbler putting on a fantastic show

Marsh Harriers are exciting for the first day

Cley from one of the many hides

Life ticks here included a very distant LRP and some Egyptian Geese, while the mammal count was bolstered by a Hare (a lifer in itself).

I've never yet been to a reserve quite like Cley. I imagine it's a good fall-back for when the weather's poor as it has a large number of hides, but I prefer to be out and about.

We tried our hands at some sea watching on the beach. A couple of flypast Sanderling and a Whimbrel were quite cool and I also saw out my first Terns when a couple of Sandwiches flew past. Seawatching is an acquired taste. I enjoyed it, but need more practice.

The afternoon was spent on and around one of these:

Which made the missus happy, because she seems to like them. Give me a tallship any day. It was fun though. A wander down to the seafront at Sheringham afterwards got us some Turnstones and my first ever Fulmar, which was exciting as it was one of my target birds on the trip. Tubenoses fascinate me, and this one didn't disappoint.

A walk from the campsite to the pub produced the goods again with a Curlew (tick) and the chance for some poncy artistic photos of abandoned boats on the mud.

Which all covers the first two days. Three more to go. However, this has taken about 2 hours to write so far and I'd like to get out and see some actual birds today, so you'll have to wait until tomorrow (probably) for the next installment. Stay tuned.


  1. You missed out the marsh harriers from the pub :P

  2. ^That was James by the way not me.

    Excellent summary of the first two days, you saved me having to blog up properly :P

    Waiting for the second installment...