Sunday, 19 March 2017

Big Weekend - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (Part III)

There was something of a greater determination about our final day in North Norfolk as for instance where else during the year would we be likely to see a Pallid Harrier and for that matter a Shore Lark save for a second visit here! In an attempt to fit everything in our intent would be to approach the day geographically, starting at 
First Light Thornham 
just a few miles down the road from our digs. There, the fortunes were both good and bad as just a single
TWITE
was located 'on call' but only seen on the wing.
The second, a return to Holkum Gap, was a far more daunting prospect 
as again there would be 
'hundreds', if not 'thousands', 
of acres of sand dunes, mud flats and foreshore 
 HUNSTANTON LIGHTHOUSE
to search with the latter lending some light relief by way of
 WHELK SHELL
 a couple of dead
ATLANTIC GREY SEAL
plus an enormous number of Norfolk
OYSTER SHELLS
but there was an agreement that we would try our luck to the West as we had covered the East side previously. My effort alone had been to cover an estimated 1½ miles in a zig-zag search but Dave
must surely have covered double this and was now well out of sight.
 Let the Search Begin
 Turning to return, but not via the outward track, there was no more than a modicum
of fluttering movement from the Marram Grass up ahead which soon turned into c5
video
SHORE LARK
video
which by the time Dave arrived
video
 had manifested themselves into c9.
As if one of the genus were not enough, soon after a small party of
video
 SKYLARK
also arrived but soon after it was time to move on.
With the wind speed increasing and seemingly a stronger likelihood of rain,
we took just a 5 minute break sat on the sand dunes while taking the opportunity to
record the perpetual rotations of the
video
OFF-SHORE WIND FARM
and a naturally wind blown
video
SAND SCULPTURE
Seems my 'Street Cred' had been re-found but it wasn't long before 
there was more, as glancing skywards and crying out
"Oh look David there seem to be c2 Flipping great
COMMON CRANE
video
circling right over our Flipping heads",
or words to that effect,
video
 which didn't land.
(for illustration only)
Was it my turn to be on a roll?
As we entered the car park there was an ancient but well preserved
Citroen Van
doubling as a coffee and cake stall and we were both sorely tempted.
We should have taken a photo of both it, and the lady within, as a jolly sole who had
us in stitches for the 10 to 15 minutes we were in her company.
But armed with a beverage, a hunk of Fudge and Banoffee Pie plus
a dense slice of Cadbury's Cream Egg Cake, there was just time to sign up to
F.F.B's. 'R' US
before discussing the prospects of finding Ruff before leaving Lady Anne's Drive for the final time.
Our teeth hadn't sunk into the tart before a small 'trip' of c12
 RUFF
 zipped past at break-neck speed and quickly disappeared from view.
One from the archive for illustration.
Satiated, it was time to leave for a third and final attempt at the
Harrier from the East
but our departure coincided with both a cloud burst and a tweet informing 
that the bird had been 'pinned down'.
Through Wells-Next-the-Sea with its most impressive
WINDMILL
 and a number of other now familiar villages, we arrived on site in pouring rain to find the
PALLID HARRIER
perched atop a hedge and
 making just short flights around the adjacent fields.
A CERTAIN CASE 
of 
'THIRD TIME LUCKY'!
(both of these images have been 'borrowed' from Wiki for illustration)
As George Harrison once said, 
"all things must pass" 
(especially good time which disappear all to quickly)
but it was time to start heading South and West, but not before 2 more stops.
The first was a return to the dismal surroundings of the 
Thetford Industrial Estate
where once again the Caspian Gull was absent, 
and then on to the far more quaint surroundings in the village of
 in
 BEDFORDSHIRE
 and well worth it if only for this magnificent 17 Arch Bridge.
 Originally built in the Early 15th Century of lime and sandstone, it underwent
significant changes in the 19th Century both widening and replacing much of the 
stone with red brick and spans the
River Great Ouse.
 Also something of a much more minor spectacle and far more 
maintenance friendly, was this
FIELD OF CURLY KALE
 but there were far more important things on hand, a
 LITTLE BUNTING
 which is being well fed and puts on a fine display for those lucky enough to see it!
LITTLE BUNTING
 caught onboard the
Floating Oil Production Platform Buchan Alpha (North Sea)
in 2009.
 It was cared for until the arrival of the next helicopter when it was
transported to Aberdeen, then onward to Cove where it was 'ringed'
and released to the delight of an appreciative crowd.
Our final sighting of the trip was this eye-catching
CANAL BOAT
with attendant
OYSTERCATCHERS
3 video clip Links © David Foot of the
Pallid Harrier (juvenile female) 
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