Developing a Twitch

July 1st and our first full day installed at Sandringham. Yesterday’s spell of summer sun is  now over and the forecast for the rest of the week is mainly for cloud cover, with some rain, though there is a suggestion that we might get a barbecue-friendly evening today. If so, I’d got a free range chicken ready to go. 😉

Francine had seen something about some colourful cliffs at Hunstanton a short drive north-west of us. Our opening gambit was to go and investigate these followed by moving further round the north coast of Norfolk to an RSPB reserve at Titchwell Marsh.

This part of the coast seems to like levying quite hefty car park charges with signs such as “All Day: £5” leaping out at the poor old motorist. Whilst that may not be so unreasonable for an all day stay, we never do an all day stay in one place. Typically, we tend to spend an hour or two in, say, three places a day. With no hourly rate on offer, that sort of car park tariff represents bad value. Driving around, we eventually found our sort of car park offering £1.80 for an hour. Better.

Just as Francine was about to head down onto the beach leaving me to buy a ticket, a large group of what we think were exchange students swarmed by and began taking forever to get through the narrow entrance and down onto said beach. Not wishing to waste 15 minutes of our hour baulked behind them, I lurked around the ticket machine to delay buying my ticket. I needn’t have bothered; once I went ahead the ticket machine began seemingly randomly rejecting perfectly valid coin of the realm such that it took me nearly 15 minutes to get it to accept my payment. Bloody technology!

J01_3213 Seaside holidayThere was a stiff breeze blowing along the beach, now swarming with foreign exchange students, and both sky and sea were essentially grey. Directly in front of me was a sight that I just do not understand but categorize as the typical English seaside holiday. I fail to see the point of sitting behind a windbreak on a wind-blown beach, well below 20°C (ignoring wind chill), wrapped in jackets whilst looking at a grey sea reflecting a grey sky. Presumably, these are the folks who don’t mind shelling out £5 to park all day. Truly bizarre. Mind you, they’d find chasing wildlife bizarre, too, I suspect, so we’re even. 🙂

_MG_0746J01_3230 FulmarTurning our backs on the foreign exchange students and the beach die-hards, we headed left to the cliffs where, I have to say, I was decidedly underwhelmed. Underwhelmed, that is, until I spotted a man staring at one section of cliff through binoculars. Using my good ol’ long lens as a telescope, I could see a couple of pairs of Fulmars nesting on cliff ledges. As the sun made a brief appearance, one of the Fulmars began demonstrating its aerial agility by swooping back and forth. How marvellous to be able to do that. Two strangers in the sky at once, a Fulmar and the sun.

Next stop was the RSPB reserve at Titchwell Marsh. The main car park was already full of twitchers’ vehicles. We went on to the overflow car park which was only half full of twitchers’ vehicles, parked and munched our lunch before heading into the reserve itself. The reserve claims “almost 20” species of Odos but action was scarce. Let’s face it, with little to no sun and temperatures struggling only into the higher teens, it really wasn’t an Odo kind of day. We did wander round a recently opened marsh area via a well constructed boardwalk, finding five species, before heading out along the 1km path, passing a few pools, towards the beach.

Several hides that we past were full of all those car-park-filling twitchers staring doggedly out of the hides’ viewing ports. I think of myself as big fan of wildlife but I really couldn’t spend a significant portion of the day staring out of one hide in case something turned up. I guess that’s why I could never go fishing, either – the two pastimes seem similar.

J01_3251 Egret with catchJ01_3255 Ruffled AvocetThe pools we wandered past produced a few interesting birds, including an Avocet, whose feathers were being ruffled by the wind, and an Egret, which obligingly caught a fish as I watched. The beach produced nothing but more feather-ruffling wind and sand.

Nicely done, RSPB, they really do do well for wild places.

The suggestion of a barbecue friendly evening was nothing but a cruel trick so Agile Caterers Ltd suddenly changed their evening menu to chicken Thai curry.

Posted in 2013 Norfolk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.