Sunday, February 23, 2014

North Norfolk - Wells to Strumpshaw

I last visited Norfolk to celebrate becoming 70. In December last year, when I saw an offer to stay at a YHA hostel at a reduced rate for members I took it. Wells is ideally situated in the centre of the north Norfolk coast and by travelling by train, then using a senior citizens bus pass, both my bank balance and carbon footprint are helped. Despite the rest of the country experiencing constant rain, the week I stayed here was comparatively dry. An initial walk from the harbour to the RNLI house is always a good start. The plaintive cries of redshanks compete with the slightly louder oystercatchers as I commenced the journey. Skylarks were singing overhead and on hearing the distinctive sound of Brent geese, I knew I was on the East coast. I repeated this walk a number of times during the week and managed to note ringed plover, bar tailed godwit, little egret, little grebe, curlew, dunlin, sanderling and the usual plethora of gulls. Using my telescope to scan the sea helped me to spot several seals and a pair of Red Breasted Mergansers. Most evenings, I heard a tawny owl in the car park, and several mornings a song thrush was my early alarm clock.

I did rent a car for one day to visit Strumpshaw Fen. I always enjoy visiting there but must try some time in summer to see the Swallowtail butterfly. Marsh Harriers were quite active and an otter made a brief appearance. Sadly too brief to obtain a photo. A distant smew also made a record shot impossible. The sunshine did enable me to see teal, shoveler, mute swans, marsh tits, nuthatch, great spotted woodpecker plus the more common woodland birds. There was even some white dead nettle in flower. The photos also confirm that rare occurrence.. sunshine. 



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