Monday, March 31, 2008

(not) Spring 08 holiday, day 4

Day four saw us staying in Wells-next-the-sea in a hotel we probably won't stay at again (too many posters advertising exclusive '200 bird' shoots on a local National Trust estate, etc.), but which none the less did an excellent breakfast. Conundrum. Decision - can't be funding the enemy so somewhere else next time!

We walked from Wells along the harbour side and into the Wells Woods (part of the Holkham nature reserve). This tree was covered in an orange/rust growth, which I presume is some kind of fungus?

From Wells Woods we followed the trail into Holkham Pines - avoid parking in Lady Ann's Drive; the local Earl now charges in winter, the previous Earl never used to, to allow locals to park close to the beach. He's probably the same chap who describes his pleasure in shooting 'the rare' wild Woodcock then providing it as the finest dish his restaurant serves on one of the local menus... nope definitely not staying here again...

From the trail we saw a couple of hangers-on Pink-footed Geese including this vocal one:

There are two hides, both raised. The first has views over the marshes, from which we saw our first Marsh Harriers of the holiday, this male bird gliding, then head-on:

From the second hide we spotted an Egret like bird with a black head??? We trotted down the path to the field to get closer and noted this Sacred Ibis. It's an escapee. You can tell that because (a) it has a bright orange ring and (b) there's not a forest of telescopes, etc. pointed at it by a diverse group of people, all dressed in green!

It has a sort of 'deaths head' look about it but a very fine bird:

We had hoped to access Holkham hall through the gate and to view the lake in the grounds but that entrance is locked these days... there's a pattern here... hmmmm..... so we headed back and followed the path to the south of the marshes, spying this pair of Egyptian Geese:

our first Little Egret of the holiday:

and the third Barn Owl feeding in daylight in as many days, admittedly this was once we were walking back through Wells Woods:

The walk back along the harbour wall was very productive with the tide out and the mud flats exposed, we saw a number of different species of wader close-up, including this Ringed Plover:

and Grey Plover (note the knee that bends the opposite way to our own) amongst others:

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