Tuesday, 22 March 2016

The Blakeney Buntings (or....An Ode to Mr. Whippy)

An early morning walk with the small hound on Saturday morning helped me to finally catch up with the Bowthorpe Great White Egret. I had tried a couple of times before but kept missing out. This time it was showing well so with some nice early morning light, I headed back home, dropped off the Pug and returned with my camera. Sadly, it had moved further away with the sun behind it so the perfect shot would elude me. However, it was enjoying a titanic struggle with a decent sized Pike which made for an interesting photo.

Great White Egret (and Pike), Bowthorpe, Norwich - 19th March 2016
In the end I think the Pike survived simply because the Egret struggled to swallow it. Great to watch though!
On Sunday I managed to convince Polina to dust down her 300mm lens and come with me to Blakeney freshmarsh to photograph the long-staying Lapland Buntings. The previous evening she had developed a hankering for a whipped ice-cream. The distant chimes of 'Greensleeves' from the ice-cream van that drives around our neighbourhood was enough to set her off and I was sent in a futile wild goose-chase, driving around deserted streets looking for the elusive Mr. Whippy. I never did find him and returned home empty handed to a disappointed and "ice-cream-less" wife. So to convince her to come to birding, I had to not only promise stunning views of a decent and photographable bird - but a whipped cone as well.
So we reached Blakeney Quay mid-afternoon with the light fading. I managed to find the birds as described (by the turn in the sea-wall beside the NT gate). But they weren't playing the game and instead of posing brightly on the fence posts and singing, they were mooching around in the long grass, keeping their distance from our lenses (I guess Sunday afternoon walkers had flushed them off the path and into the long grass). Anyway - a little patience paid off and they eventually came to the seed that had been scattered on the path for them. Photos weren't great but the birds are looking lovely as they moult into their breeding livery. Plenty of Skylarks there too, a confident male Reed Bunting and several Chaffinches kept us entertained.

Lapland Bunting, Blakeney Freshmarsh, Norfolk - 20th March 2016

Reed Bunting
Cold hands eventually put a stop our fun. We headed back towards the car park taking in the view of Cley village and its windmill along the way - always a very "Norfolk- looking" vista as far as I'm concerned.

Cley village and windmill from Blakeney freshmarsh

We returned to Norwich via Wells next the sea where I knew an ice cream could be had without needing to drive around housing estates chasing strange men in even stranger vans!

Happiness at last!

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