I got up extremely early and headed to Choseley Drying Barns – parked up by the bottom corner and scanned the usual Dotterel field. I found Red-legged Partridges, an Oystercatcher and Hares, but after several scans of lumps of mud etc, I couldn't find any Dotterel. Had another look for Dotterel at the top of Chalkpit Lane and scanned the only possible field (crops in others) and again found nothing. Beautiful early morning light views of 2 Buzzards at fairly close range and one Marsh Harrier – also several Swifts in the cloudless blue skies.
Vivien and I had arranged to meet up at 9.30am in the car park at Thornham Harbour and I still had time to kill, so decided to walk Gypsy Lane (Titchwell). This plan was quickly squashed, when I could see the tiny car park was already full with three cars, which is unusual for this time of the day. Headed to Holme, parked up and went for a walk along Marsh Lane, a public footpath which passes the kissing gate to the NWT village hides (gate locked and reserve closed obviously right now because of Covid-19). Never in a million years did I think, that I wouldn't ever be able to freely walk to these hides, where I visited regularly in memory of my dear mother, who loved this place so much. But there we go, it is what is – we are living in a very weird time right now. It was nice to bump into Sophie (HBO warden) here for a quick chat, as she was on her way to work. Along Marsh Lane I heard and saw Cuckoos, a Sedge Warbler, Blackcap, Blackbird, Shelducks x 2, Lapwings and a Little Egret flew from a ditch.
I arrived at the car park in Thornham Harbour just before 9.30am and Vivien arrived shortly after. It was so lovely to see her, but frustrating we couldn't hug. To change something you have done your entire life is just so odd. Vivien had not had any breakfast and munched her way through two of her lunch sandwiches before we even set off, which made me chuckle! It was a beautiful day, but I decided I needed my coat as the wind was a little chilly – I regretted this later on! We had arranged to meet here and today for two reasons, one being we wanted to meet up at our childhood beach and delayed meeting up until today, as we didn't want to add to the tons of people, that we knew would be around at the weekend. It was a good move, as there was only one car in the car park besides ours. Our walk took us along the Thornham Bank, along past Post Ten (very few people will know where/what post ten is, apart from M & E. W.!) and the stupendous view over the Broadwater, The NWT Firs House and Holme Bird Observatory. From here we continued along the coastal footpath through the pines, my father's Yew tree near the sea-watching hide, past the NWT entrance and then sat for lunch on the edge of the dunes looking out to sea.
As we commenced our walk, we had beautiful views below the sea wall of a large flooded area on the marsh with cows amongst the buttercups – everything looked so green and fresh. It was a beautiful scene. We heard a single Natterjack toad here! I fully expected to see Yellow Wagtails here, it looked perfect for them, but after much scanning, found none. There were some Lapwings, Mallards and Redshanks here. As we turned the corner north, we soaked up the familiar views of the Broadwater and childhood memories came flooding back..... 'Dragon Hill' I said – this was a small hilly area of dunes (still there) that we named Dragon Hill, where we used to play as children. In normal circumstances we would have sat on the bench seat that overlooks the Broadwater, but obviously we would not have been 6ft apart. A Red Kite appeared close when I hadn't got the camera to hand – I grappled with my bag to get the camera out, but was too late – the Red Kite had flown away over the marsh. We also saw 2 Marsh Harriers, a Little Egret was on the Broadwater along with a Greylag Goose, Moorhen with young, Gadwalls x 2 and Shelducks x 2.
We continued along the boardwalk, up to 'Post Ten' where I found a wonderful Green Hairstreak Butterfly, which I managed to get some photos of with the SLR. At Post Ten (which was No. 10 of my late father's Nature Trail, which doesn't exist any more now), we paused by the curved seat and was saddened to see rubbish left from someone, who had obviously managed to bring out something to eat, but couldn't manage to take it home – the empty wrappers were obviously far too heavy to carry back! We continued along the boardwalk and noticed the NOA have replaced the old shelter by the small entrance gate with a new one. We ambled through the pines and I discovered that Vivien didn't remember that father had planted the now large Yew tree on the left hand side of the path. A handful of people passed us here, including a lady with a dog off lead, but well behaved carrying a p*o bag – who then deposited it into the dog bin by the closed NWT entrance. I can't imagine having to empty dog bins when they are full – I just couldn't do it!
We sat on the edge of the dunes to have our lunch in the exact spot where I sat with my mother, just less than a year before she died. It was this spot that I took the selfie of us both
wearing sunglasses. I thought about this time spent with my mother and started talking to Vivien about it and became very emotional – we all miss her so much. Time does not heal at all whereas our mother is concerned – she wasn't a fading into the background sort of person when she was alive and still isn't, even now and never will be. It will be two years on 7th August, since she died. We had a lovely relaxing time sitting here, looking out to sea and enjoying our lunch. We didn't see too much, being as the tide was out, but a Meadow Pipit was sitting on posts close by, Brent Geese flew along the sea and saw Black-headed Gulls and a Cormorant. A few Swallows were overhead too. There was a couple on the beach with two huge and scary looking dogs, who were not on leads and were heading roughly in our direction – we were pleased to see them put their leads on, as their neared the NWT path onto the dunes. I had to stuff my coat in my rucksack, as it was now boiling hot as we ambled back to Thornham Harbour car park.
I wanted to show Vivien North Point Pools at Wells. Vivien is not a birder, but has a love and general interest of nature, so I knew she would like this lovely little spot. On the way we stopped at Burnham Deepdale and I bought us both a Magnum ice-cream from the garage shop. We drove to Burnham Overy Staithe and sat in our deckchairs on the quay to enjoy our ice-creams. It was glorious sitting here and Little Terns fished right in front of us! There were quite a few people parked up here and people were in small boats messing about and it was fairly busy. Goodness knows what it had been like at the weekend!
At North Point Pools we parked up and took our deckchairs to sit and watch the bird life on the pools. It wasn't as jam-packed with birds on the east side as it normally is, I don't know why. But, there were still 2 Wood Sandpipers to see, Redshanks, Lapwings, Avocets with chicks, Mallards, Shelducks, Egyptian Geese, Coots, Oystercatchers, Black-headed Gulls, Little Egret, Heron (flying distantly), Pied Wagtails and a Cuckoo was calling. We sat by our cars in the deckchairs and had a snack to eat and hot drinks and then cruised back along the A149 coast road, rather than inland via A148. We waved goodbye to each other, after pausing in Hunstanton briefly and both headed home.
When I arrived home, I discovered that I had burnt more than I thought. Normally I wouldn't burn. I already had factor 50 on my face (I always do), but my hair parting was bright red and felt very tender and sore to touch and my hands were red and felt sore. This was because of the antibiotics I'm on for my tick bite "Doxycyline" which warns in the small print, about not being in too much sunlight as at risk of sunburn. It was quite worrying to be honest. I dug out the first aid kit from the boot of the car and applied some burn (tea tree solution) gel to my hair parting and my hands as I got into bed. Luckily I was ok in the morning!