To-day's aim was to settle in to the Shellbrooke Guesthouse in Hunstanton, visit an outdoor clothing shop in King's Lynn and make a late night visit to Dersingham Bog.
After a name mix-up and wrong room allocation (tiny), our Beach Suite was excellent. Spacious, comfortable bedroom, good size bathroom and a sea view.
The outdoor clothing shop was closed 'for a holiday'........but a new Sainsbury's was awesome. Huge, high ceilinged, tiled floor and really classy looking. Good place to buy cheese and crackers and dip for to-morrow's lunch ! As we drove to the docks area to view the river mouth, a Peregrine flew from the top of the massive concrete grain silo.
Ensconced on the John Denver seat overlooking the bog, dowsed in repellant against the noseeums (Aboriginal word for those tiny midges which cause pinpricks of fire in the scalp and any exposed flesh.), the first Nightjar started to churr at 9.20. I had three views in all, not brilliant. All the power lines and poles where they used to perch have been taken away.
A highlight for me was the frequent twitting call of a roding Woodcock, I saw it once against the wood and one then flew directly over my head, calling. Excellent. I wish they still roded the wood at the bottom of our garden, standing out there in a June dusk was a joy.
Wednesday - Lakenheath Fen RSPB
I love this reserve, not a huge variety of birds but what we see is lovely. Again, a lovely cloudless, sunny day , the edge of the easterly wind making the temperature comfortable.
After driving to the New Fen area, we sat on a bench outside the open hide for over an hour, spellbound by the Hobbys' hunting flight display in front of us. Such great acrobatic flyers. Hundreds of Swifts flew amongst them, silhouetted against the deep blue sky. A Bittern flew across the reedbed and out of view, later returning. Three Marsh Harriers in the air at once, triumphant Cuckoos calling, Reed Warblers, Reed Buntings and Cetti's Warblers announcing themselves at regular intervals. Very enjoyable. Pam saw a Kingfisher skim fast and low across the reeds, only one other did - and she had to ask what it was.
Eventually we walked as far as the reserve stretches, nearly two miles. Along the way, we saw many Orange-tipped Butterflies, a few Peacock Butterflies, Hairy Dragonfly, Blue Damselfly, Water Violets and upteen caterpillars, spiders and beetles.
The track leads to another open hide and benches looking over more extensive reed beds, ditches, small pools and a few trees. Its intention is to allow views of the breeding Common Cranes nesting area. We did not see one fly in the 40 minutes we sat scanning. I did see a Cuckoo in long flight, Bearded Reedlings, more Cettis and Reed Warblers.
Returning by a different route, a pair of Great Crested Grebes shepherded one stripe-headed young on what could have been a maiden swim.
Trudging car-wards - I carried my scope, camera and big lens all day - we met again the kneeling entemologist we met near the car park this morning. I had suggested that Pam ask him what he was doing and she did ! Well, he was kneeling, using a camera with a white paper around the front of the lens, about a few inches from the ground. A very slim, diffident and quietly spoken chap, he is working for the RSPB surveying reserves for any living thing apart from birds. I saw a beetle fly in, which he identified as a Soldier Beetle.
On the second occasion, he was using a net. I asked if he'd found anything interesting. The answer was affirmative, several species of Weevil. fascinating. I would love to spend time with such an obvious expert in his field (pun accidental). he suggested that an ice-cream would reward our long walk. What a good idea, they sell Ronaldos at the Centre. Pam bought them when she took our permit to drive back.
What a lovely day, ending with a delicious meal at the B and B, the husband is a chef. They used to own a Bistro and have only been running the Shellbrooke since last October. Thank you Ruth and Alan (Biggest Twitch) for recommending the place.