After singing Happy Birthday to Marj who was 80 to-day (not writing this until the 16th),we drove to Ludham Marshes, hoping for Whoopers and anything else we could find. The track posted 'Marshes' held only Mute Swans, several Robins and a flock of sheep containing a deer .
The St Benets Abbey track was much better. Several scattered herds of Bewick's adding up to about 300, and at least 50 easily spooked Fieldfare amongst the Golden Plovers and Lapwing.
Next try, Ludham Bridge. A dozen Mute Swans in view, we drove on towards Horning, turning back at the cluster of cottages named after trees. The road is raised here but flanked by high hedges with a couple of gaps. Ah Swans.......We pulled in to an extremely muddy gap to view 30 Whooper Swans in the fields below. Great.
Now for Yarmouth and the car wash near Asda which does an excellent job on our 4X. The only silver bit is the roof ! All the local cars look the same, caked in brown mud from roads covered in soil by farmers trying to harvest beet - and the muddy water washed off saturated fields.
Mags had told us how much she and John had enjoyed a light meal at the Waterside Restaurant overlooking Ormesby Broad. As we neared the turn off I suggested that we try it out. A very pleasant room with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Broad, where we enjoyed a Brie and bacon panini.
The eastern European attendant really gave the car a good wash with a pressure hose before Pam drove the car into the automated ride through car wash. This makes a big difference, especially around the back door mounted spare wheel.It also means that the under side gets a wash, the handwash at Stalham doesn't
Caister road was blocked off but it's only a short drive before a right turn takes one back to the far end of Caister and Second Avenue. It was bitterly cold on the sea wall from which we scanned the beach for Snow Buntings. No chance to-day, not walking was an easy decision. There were people and dogs everywhere, especially around the rocky bits they like to feed amongst.
We drove home via Winterton and Horsey, always hoping for a view of the Cranes. No luck to-day but I was very pleased to see 5 Snipe on the west side of the road before Horsey Mill. Pam had seen one fly in response to a Marsh Harrier fly-by, tried to pinpoint where it landed and found not just one but 5. Our first of the year, such cryptic birds.