Monday, 29 August 2016

Post 436 - Nourishing Natural Norfolk

Muntjacs in our clearing at Kelling Heath
Hey everyone today's post is post 436 and it kind of explains my inactivity over the last month or so. I've been on holiday! I went to Norfolk, as long time readers will know that I do every year at around the start of August, on a nature holiday. We stay at a beautiful holiday park called Kelling Heath. It's a big woodland next to an area of SSSI heath where Dartford Warblers nest, Turtle Doves are seen, Nightjars nest and it has Silver studded Blue butterflies too! In the woodland there is a little clearing for each caravan, so much so that you can't see your neighbours, but you do get Muntjac deer wandering in! Just sitting in this little clearing is enough to cure anyone from nature deficit disorder, but with all the other places I went to and the wildlife I saw it was a very relaxing and restful holiday.

But anyway, I'll get into some of what I saw,

Large Emerald and a Pebble Hook Tip
- just a couple of the moths we saw
We left home at about 10am and got there at about 4pm, stopping off to get supplies and to stretch our legs at points, one stop was the wonderfully named Sprotbrough Flash which I mentioned in my last post! There wasn't really much to do with nature on the first day until we got to Kelling, but we saw enough just sat out on the decking just looking and listening. From Jays to Pipistrelle Bats, and Wood Pigeons to Squirrels. Aside from this we took Esme for a walk around the heath, but didn't see much the first time.

We went to Titchwell Marsh a couple of times. and racked up quite a list, we saw the Spoonbills that are there at the moment as well as a Little Stint, 4 Bearded Tits, Ruff, Little Ringed Plover, Reed Bunting, Sedge Warbler, a Hobby and a lot more, but, strangely, the highlight for me were the Yellow Wagtails. I've been looking for these for so long, and if I ever thought I'd seen one, I just couldn't confirm it. And to see them so close this time was just amazing.

Yellow Wagtail at Titchwell
Later in the week I met up with Luke Nash and Paddy Lewin, two young birders and went to Cley reserve, Luke's patch. It was great to have such a good guide while we went around the reserve as we saw a lot more than we would have, including a Hobby sat just a few metres from the hide! We also saw Snipe, Green and Redshank, and lots more. Before we leave this topic I want to quickly congratulate Paddy on his amazing GCSE results. Hope I can do as well as you!

An awesome encounter with a Hobby at Cley
We also walked around the Heath with Luke and Paddy, and got my first sighting of Turtle Doves! As we walked we flushed a pair right in front of us from the ground the first of time, but they flapped off in a hurry, but the second time they moved from a tree so we got a great sighting! That was pretty awesome so it more than made up for not managing to see the Silver Studded Blue Butterflies again! I look every year but no luck yet.

Another day was spent exploring the broads and we went to Horsey Mere where we went on our traditional wildlife boat trip. This one was a bit different as it wasn't with Ross who usually runs the trips, as he was away running a sailing Regatta, but instead it was his friend Chris, who was just as good. We didn't see that much but the dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies were good, as well as a really close pass of a Marsh Harrier! I must time one of my Norfolk holidays right so that I get to see some Swallowtail Butterflies, I've only ever had a couple of brief glances of them as I always seem to be there between broods!

Some of the seals soaking up the sun
Last time I was in Norfolk Dad and I took a walk to Blakney Point. We didn't get all the way there but far enough to see lots of seals as well as things like Ringed Plovers and Dunlins. Well this year so that the whole family, including Mum and Esme our Jack Russell, could see the seals we decided to have a boat trip to see them. It was a lovely trip and the sea was very calm (much to Mum's relief!). We got to see the Common Seal colony as well as see a good few Grey Seals bobbing about in the sea too. On the way to and from the seals we saw quite a lot of birdlife too. There were quite a lot of gulls, cormorants and geese around but I've discovered bird spotting from a bobbing boat is harder than it looks!

A Swallow having a rest in the rafters
There were lots of other activities too. We had some nice walks in Sherringham Park and I saw a very happy little Swallow that came and fed its family then sat in the rafters for a little rest. I also had a ride on the steam trains that you can catch from Kelling Heath. I'll miss sitting on the decking and just watching and listening to everything in the woods. I see something new every year. One of the most interesting things I watched was one morning having breakfast, where I watched a Grey Squirrel moving her babies from an old drey to one in a tree right by our caravan, something I'd not seen before and it was very cute to watch her bring them in one by one in her mouth and then scamper back for the next one.
Squirrel scampering around moving dreys
- the baby is in her mouth

The last reserve I went to was on the way home, it was the fabulous RSPB Snettisham. I'd been getting reports fed to me all holiday from Elliot Monteith (thanks Elliot) as the phone reception was not very good about a Red Necked Phalarope was here. Well I didn't see that sadly but I did see a Spotted Redshank which was a lifer. On the walk back to the car as well I got to to see all the birds being moved on by the tides and there were some fabulous murmurations so that was a nice end to the holiday!
Stunning Sunsets too!

Well I could go on but I hope this was a nice little summary of my holiday. This and Birdfair kept me quite busy through the summer holidays but now I hope to get back into a more regular blogging routine.

Thanks to everyone that's supported my petition - its now at 4,246 signatures :-)

I've also started a Thunderclap to promote it too and if you could sign up to that too that'd be awesome!

Hope you enjoyed,



  1. You saw some amazing sights here Zach and glad to hear you had a good holiday! Lovely shots. - Tasha

  2. Such wonderful shots!
    I found your site through Tasha - so glad I stopped by, and I hope you'll return the visit and link up at

    1. Thanks Sue, I had a peek at your site, love the orchid photos :-)

  3. Hi Zach, I'm Colette (a rather old one of your followers on Twitter). I am glad you had a good summer holiday with your family and got to see lots of wildlife. I am really impressed with your blogging achievements and your persistence to bring wildlife issues into main stream social media like Twitter.

    I have signed up for your Thunderclap on Twitter and indeed signed your very important petition to ask our government to protect UK Environment and Wildlife after we exit the EU!

    I hope many people will sign your petition and will also, like me, do their best to promote it through social media accounts.

    Wishing you every success, Colette @lippyCN

    1. Thank you so much Collette, the support and kind words very much appreciated :-)