Saturday, April 10, 2010

Easter 2010 - Easter Monday

A quick word about the staff at the Kings Lynn Premier Inn. It turned out the evening dinner and following breakfast were the busiest services they had ever had. The staff remained polite and friendly throughout despite being rushed off their feet, and were volunteering extra shifts through their own Easter weekends to help out. We would recommend the hotel and restaurant wholeheartedly as both good value and really good people.

The forecast was again for rain and this time, having looked out of the window, we believed them. We decided therefore to head East into Norfolk and away from the rain. Though having got up pre-dawn to visit the docks we decided to do that anyway, via the 'Golden Triangle', that is a small patch of land outside of the main estate at Sandringham where a few introduced Pheasant species survive the annual slaughter, mostly by being outside of said estate (which is why they shoot rare birds like Hen Harriers as these may sometimes predate the other birds they like to shoot for fun).

Within ten minutes of arriving we were treated to a male Golden Pheasant, browsing the verge by the road for just a couple of minutes before heading back into cover. Was it the passing 4x4 and the recognition such vehicles typically convey the 'war on nature' crowd, that sent it scurrying for cover, or was that just coincidence?

Still a beautiful bird, if a little hard to photograph in post dawn light under leaden skies and heavy rain:



At the docks one of the shellfish processing companies let loose a waste flow, which brought a group of Herring Gulls to the outflow to pick out any morsels in the waste:



We headed to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Cley, though that too proved very, very quiet. A lone, feral, Greylag Goose had chased off all-comers outside one of the hides:



A male Marsh Harrier cruised over the reedbeds looking for its next meal:



From Cley we headed to next door Salthouse, but the Snow Buntings and Shore Larks had departed, however we really enjoyed watching this flock of Ruddy Turnstones:



When a group this size is working an area the resulting movement of rocks sounds just like rain. We watched them for a few minutes, a couple getting closer:



Then we headed on to Titchwell, working our way back along the coast to our next hotel, the Burleigh in Hunstanton which is a definite favourite of ours. Titchwell is subject to a substantial rebuilding programme as rising sea levels erode the sea defences, so the site is being prepared for a different structure to ensure its survival for the next few years at least. As such it won't be completed until late 2011 and, unsurprisingly, the disturbance and changing habitats mean the reserve is very quiet. It's still good for sea watching, we enjoyed the huge raft of Common Scoters offshore, but the reserve itself holds very few birds. This is in part a good thing (clutching at straws a bit here!) as the adjacent marshes are used by a deeply cynical group of locals for shooting ducks and geese, at least for the next few years they'll have fewer birds to kill for their amusement. Scumbags.
As we headed back to the car for the short drive to Hunstanton a very bold Robin watched us away:

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