Monday 10 September 2012

Trip to Holkham Beach!!!

THis is a new one for me; In fact I haven't been in Norfolk since a school trip to Hunstanton when I was 10  - three nights in Le Strange Hotel, rampaging around the beach and garden; finding a nest of baby Plovers on the beach as the parent did the wounded walk away from me...

Holkham is a bit further round from Hunstanton, and in fact the park up for food and Iain M. Banks reading pre walk session was at Burnham on Sea - where a narrow tide out creek provided peoplewatching amusement as yummy mummies carried babies in ridiculous pappooses; dogs gambolled in the shallows, and paddleboarders and canoeists tried to make headway in ankle deep water.

I got some provisions - multiple diet coke cans - and headed out on the path, this red ironstone path (if such a thing exists!) that I remember forming a layer at the cliffs at Hunstanton all those years ago. All seemed a bit drab at first; a few gulls, endless cormorants, some dull old coots on a pond, but soon I saw a V shaped flock of Geese overhead and as I learned later they weren't borinhg old Greylag or Canada-Drooping-Machines-Geese, but were Pink Footed Geese on the move to and from Wells.

Pausing at a corner on the path where the creek heads for the sea and a large area of Salt Marsh begin, I scanned the area with my 10x50s and saw a low lying group of little birdie heads in the mid length grasses behind a bored looking gull. Dark faces, specly bodies. I figured them for some sort of Plover, and a kindly typical old twitcher type I asked told me they were Golden Plovers just down from their breeding season in the hills. Big new spot for a rubbish birder like me!!! He got me excited with tales of a Marsh Harrier, but I never saw it.

A couple of Egrets were also doing their snow white work in the little ponds and creeks. Had a good look at the these most elegant of birds.

After what seemed like an age, walking along the track, wondering what these small flocks of birds were occasionally flitting across in front of me - I guessed almost certainly wrongly they were some kind of pipit - I got to the beach and wandered around, taking in the sight of an endless carpet of razer shells marking the High Water line, pink crab shells interspersed within.

No little terns nesting in the protected area and only a few gulls to see, and turned round for home. On the way back, found large flock of waders probing the mudflats. As I half guessed right at the time, another new spot for me - Redshank, with the fine black and white striping on their tails. Not Godwit, you fool! *punches self*

Back at the car park, more Vs of Pink Footed Geese came the other way - could see the pink feet in the binoculars - and eventually stopping off at Brancaster, spotted a Turnstone rapid dancing the creek edge. A skittery and very pretty little bird, that.

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