Norfolk Biodiversity

Birdwatching on the Norfolk Coast: Part 1

Blakeney Credited to Matthew Thorne

Blakeney, the start of every great adventure (Credited to Matt Thorne)

I arrived in Blakeney on Saturday morning with: my camera, some binoculars, a pack lunch, and enough clothing on to survive a winter storm (not that I was expecting one, of course). After a couple of hours of travelling (a train from Norwich to Sheringham, then the Coasthopper bus to Blakeney – see here for more info), I couldn’t wait to see something. At that time, I had no end point in mind, but it turned out to be Salthouse, approximately a 6 mile stroll (see below the route I took, all of which on the Norfolk Coast Path).

Map Blakeney to Salthouse

Map of route from Blakeney to Salthouse (Credited to Google Maps)

I began by walking round the Blakeney Freshes. As I scanned the area, out of the corner of my eye I spotted something move next to a pool of water. As I had a closer look through my binoculars, I could see it was Europe’s largest wading bird, the curlew, with its characteristic down-curved beak and long legs (see below). This bird is more commonly found in winter as continental birds (likely this one) join those resident in the UK.

Curlew next to a marsh pool (Credited to Matt Thorne)

Curlew next to a marsh pool (Credited to Matt Thorne)

First bird of the day. I could now breathe a sigh of relief. Nothing particularly rare, but a bird nonetheless. I began to stroll with a slight spring in my step. I didn’t have to wait long though before I came across a group of Brent geese, bathing and feeding off the vegetation. I was glad I had caught them, cause later this month (March), they will be heading North over 1000 miles until they reach the Arctic and Russia, where they breed during the summer months.

Brent Geese having a bath (Credited to Matt Thorne)

Brent Geese having a paddle (Credited to Matt Thorne)

In the distance on the mudflats, I could see something else on the other side of a stream. I zoomed in with my binoculars to find …

Oyster Catcher (Credited to Matt Thorne)

Oystercatcher scouring the mudflats for tasty treats (Credited to Matt Thorne)

an Oystercatcher. It kept pecking in the sand, as it eagerly searched for any worms or mussels it could get its beak on. It had definitely been at work a while in quite a cold and windy day, as it’s red beak and legs were barely visible under a thick layer of mud and sand.

Cley Windmill (Credited to Matt Thorne)

Cley Windmill (Credited to Matt Thorne)

Cley windmill neared, marking my halfway point. Time for a pit stop and refuel before round 2: The Cley Marshes. To be continued …


About Matt Thorne

Works in Environment, Transport and Development at Norfolk County Council

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This entry was posted on March 6, 2015 by in Birds, Norfolk Coast and tagged , , , , , , , .

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