Wednesday 26 December 2012

Norfolk and tea rooms

Our Lass was keen to visit the coast during the Christmas break, as she starts to pine if she doesn't have a fix of shoreline every so often. Boxing Day looked like it would have the best weather and so it proved. We left Tense Towers early and were most of the way to Norfolk before the sun put in an appearance above the horizon.

Having breakfasted near Ely, we pushed on to our first port of call, RSPB Titchwell, where we were pleasantly surprised to discover that the car park wasn't yet full. This may have been due to the Visitors' Centre and cafe being shut (but, fortunately, we'd checked beforehand and made other arrangements).

With a cold breeze for company, we walked along the causeway to the beach, stopping occasionally to scan the lagoons with our binoculars. There were plenty of Golden Plover about, huddled on one of the low islands.

Whilst several small flocks of Brent Geese were moving between the lagoons and the marshes. 

The light from the low sun threw up some odd reflections on the windows of one of the new hides. At first I thought they'd run out of cash and used clingfilm instead of glass.

Once through the dune bank, we stopped for a while to watch some Turnstones searching for food amongst the razor shells deposited on the high tide mark. In the photo below, the bird furthest from the camera has a slightly deformed bill, the top mandible being longer than the bottom one.

The tide was out, so we wandered across the beach towards the water's edge. This is usually the only walking scenario where Our Lass scoots off ahead and consequently I have a large collection of images like this one...

There were plenty of species to be seen: Oystercatcher, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Sanderling, Grey Plover and Redshank.

Once we'd had enough of being buffeted by the breeze, we retraced our steps and went to explore the Fen Trail, which was much more sheltered, and we managed to spot four Marsh Harriers.

The bird feeders behind the Visitors' Centre were busy with finches, including several Siskins and a solitary Brambling.

By this time, grey clouds had replaced the sun, so we drove a few miles south to RSPB Snettisham before we lost the light completely. From the sea wall, we scanned the huge mudflats of The Wash and could see distant flocks of waders. The tide had turned, forcing these flocks back towards us, but unfortunately we knew that dusk would fall before high tide. Worse than that, it started to rain, further reducing visibility, so we didn't manage any close-up views of the wheeling and whirling flocks.

I did manage a few shots of the far throng whilst there was still some light...

but I think we will have to return in the not-too-distant future when tide, time and weather allows.

On the journey home, despite it now being dark, we detoured slightly to call in at WWT Welney. Not so much to see the wildfowl, but more because the cafe was open late.

"Pot of tea for 4, please, but only two cups."


holdingmoments said...

Three excellent places you visited there Graeme.
Glad you managed some eateries too.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Thanks, Keith. It was, as they say, a grand day out.