Thursday, 21 July 2016


With a few days work today and tomorrow and a very hectic work schedule next week I opted for a day out in North Norfolk.
I'll be honest I felt a bit disappointed afterwards.
I started off at Cley next to the Sea and even at 5am it was already 16°c but very windy. Despite much searching both scrapes had no waders. The best I got was interesting a Yellow legged Gull and a juvenile Med Gull. But I didn't come for gulls. I didn't even see a Marsh Harrier which is rare.
So I headed down the coast road to Salthouse. I love wandering round here but was gutted/shocked to see the damage caused by the winter flooding in 2013 but wasn't to be the last evidence of storm damage.
If you squint the bloke on the left is the entrance to the carpark the earth bank was the part of the carpark. It is an eye opener to the power of nature. But with the defenses still looking extremely vulnerable  you have to wonder about the residents in the nearby villages and for the the future of this section of coast. There was an even an Avocet sitting on eggs on the shingle. A few Redshank, Ringed Plover, Little Egrets, Kestrel, a family of Stonechats, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Sandmartins, Swifts, Swallows but bizarrely still no Marsh Harrier. I've not gone so long on a visit to this area and not seen a Marsh Harrier for goodness sakes I've only ever seen a Hen Harrier 3 times and twice were here so Marsh Harrier shouldn't be this hard.

The best treat for me was a family of Stonechats with 3 juveniles in tow I was happy and leave you guessing what I photographed the most lol.
Unbelievably the bird that kicked started my passion for birds was one I'd never seen a juvenile!!

I did focus on other stuff like this
But even got photobombed by a juvenile Stonechat, cheeky bugger :-)
A quick stop for lunch at Brancaster Straithe and the little harbour for a Crayfish baguette. I love this 'crab shack' caught in the morning, served up at lunch time you can't beat it.
But in winter it's great for waders mostly Turnstones. I finally got a Marsh Harrier, another Little Egret, fly through Curlew, a Little Tern, single Ruff and Knot but mostly tourists like me. So I got my tea (a lobster) put it in the icebag and opted for a visit to Snettisham.
Some say a bleak beauty to this place, I prefer 'stark'. I should've comes here earlier in the day as it clouded over and by the time the sun came out the sun was in my face meaning back-lit but I got loads from here that I've not started working through.
They include Avocets, Redshank, Black Tail Godwit, Oystercatchers, Little Egrets, Marsh Harrier, Shelduck, Ringed Plover, 1 Green Sandpiper. According to the RSPB staff cleaning the hides they had Med Gulls nesting earlier in the year but apart from the juvenile I saw down the coast I didn't see one.
I did take the staff to task on one issue (as I do). I wanted to know why after three years (yes the area was devastated) since the storms and the millions of pounds the rspb have why the damaged hides haven't been replaced even though they're due to be replaced. I asked if it was because like yesterday most people head for Titchwell (cars were queuing to get in) rather than Snettisham . I didn't get an answer.
I'll post up some more images from Snet' later in the week.


  1. Douglas, you've got to be in awe at the power of nature when you see, first hand, the devastation caused by the sea on that one night.

    I love the North Norfolk coast, it always comes up with some great birds (and other wildlife), even if it's not what you expected to see?

    I guess Snettisham isn't 'commercial' or 'showy' enough to warrant spending too much money on, even if it's just for two or three 'posh' sheds?

    That 'little' baguette looks good, I might have to pay a visit to the 'crab shack' when I go back for a holiday later in the year?

    You caught a good selection of images, looking forward to seeing some more...[;o)

    1. Cheers Trevor. Nature is awe inspiring and frightening in equal amounts.
      I fully recommend the crab shack. They do every type of shellfish, I'm drooling thinking about it.

  2. I suspect that the whole of this coast is sacrificial. The water has too go somewhere and you can guarantee that somewhere will not be London.
    I went somewhere that way with Keith and Trevor. I'm not sure what we saw but they were both clicking away like crazy.

    1. Apparently years ago it was leaked that certain villages in the area were sacrificial which is alarming

  3. Great images there, Doug. I don't think I've ever seen a Coot more than a few inches above the surface of the water. Lovely Stonechats - one of my favourite birds too! However, the Crayfish baguette might well have me heading for Brancaster Staithe sometime soon! Better get there before the North Sea swallows it up (Brancaster, not the baguette!).

    Best wishes - - -Richard

  4. The coots at Cley have me in stitches they're high fliers quite quick too:-)
    The Stonechats made my day weirdly. As for Brancaster can't recommend it enough, try if possible time your visit when the tides in, it's a bit more productive bird wise, weirdly quiet on my visit. Working off them bagguetes at work today though:-)