Back to very familiar haunts this time, North Norfolk having lived there for four years of my life it was a former local patch add in that the opening day was my birthday gave it bit of a surreal feeling.
So meeting up with guests at our base for the week , a briefing followed before we set off for Sculthorpe Moor a reserve owned and managed by the Hawk and Owl Trust. It is already a fantastic reserve but it is set to double in size over the next two years. Here a mix of habitats from Alder Carr to mature oak woodland through to reedbed and river valley gives the chance to see many differing species.
All the expected woodland species were seen with Nuthatch and Treecreeper amongst them, a good number of butterflies were on the wing, Speckled Wood and Red Admiral being the most numerous. A late afternoon Kingfisher and an over flying Red Kite rounded off the day.
So to day Two, no trip to Norfolk is complete without spending some time at RSPB Titchwell it really never disappoints with the sightings board showing over a hundred species were possible in a day. This is never the aim but you see what you see an make sure you enjoy it.
With many waders on the move and some still in their post breeding livery, Greenshank , Knot, Sanderling, Spotted Redshank and an unseasonal Purple Sandpiper were the stand outs. Great views of Bearded Tits, a solitary Turtle Dove, Spoonbills and a Chinese Water Deer were other highlights, without really trying 74 species were seen in the day.
Day three commenced with an early morning walk around the lanes close to our base. It turned out to be bit of a mammal morning with three Muntjac, and two Roe Deer being seen along with several Brown Hare feeding on some uncultivated land. Many different birds were about with warblers such as Blackcap, Whitethroat about. Other expected species like Jay and Stock Dove were seen. After a great breakfast a stop was made at Kelling Heath where the Ling ( Calluna vulgaris) and Bell Heather ( Erica cineraria) was at the height of flowering. Many butterflies were in this rich wildlife haven. With Gatekeeper , Small Copper and Meadow Brown being seen.
"Many butterflies were in this rich wildlife haven. With Gatekeeper , Small Copper and Meadow Brown being seen."
A short stop at Weybourne beach saw Gannets, Sandwich Terns and others offshore before we headed towards Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve of Cley Marshes. Sadly the weather took a turn for the worst with the forecasted rain slowly bringing proceedings to a halt. But it was not before some time in the hide revealed 11 GreenSandpipers, 150+ Ruff, plus a host of other species.
The deluge set in but a stop for coffee and a look around the Wildlife Gallery at Glandford ( Truly Stunning Work ) brought the day to a satisfactory close .
To finish the tour a local pre Breakfast morning walk in glorious sunshine was completed again many of the previously seen species were out along with a mixed flock of finches feeding on dried seed heads of Hardheads and Knapweed. At a local church there was evidence of roosting bats so on the repeat of this tour the bat detector will be in the kitbag.
So that was August in Norfolk but when we return in December it will be a very different picture with thousands of Waterfowl and overwintering waders in attendance.