Having strolled around King's Lynn for an hour I caught the Coasthopper bus to Holkham NNR.
The Wild Geese of Winter
A cold wind whipped across the grazing marsh. A familiar honking sound was carried on the breeze. Small dark flecks appeared over the tree tops and gradually assumed a recognisable shape. Dozens of wild geese approached and whiffled down onto the grasslands.
Around 70,000 Pink-Footed Geese visit North Norfolk every winter (that's around a quarter of the world population). In the evening long skeins of geese stretch across the winter skies as the birds go to roost.
If you want to sort them out from other geese then it's not usually very practical to look for the pink feet; chocolate-headed geese would be a more helpful description. The other geese to be seen at Holkham were White-Fronted Geese, Brent Geese, Egyptian Geese and Greylags.
Down Along The Shore
An Oystercatcher strutted along in search of a meal.
Right by the sea I encountered a flock of my favourite little waders - Sanderlings. Not for them the hours of standing on one leg with head tucked under the wing like so many other waders. Sanderlings are tiny energetic clockwork toys, scurrying up and down the beach with the incoming waves. Sometimes, like today, they seem almost oblivious to people strolling along the strand.
An Earnest Intervention
"Did you see a bird of prey fly over just now? Could have been a Rough-Legged Buzzard. One been seen here recently. Been reported on BirdGuides. There's Firecrests too. Check the flocks of Tits. Any Snow Buntings on the saltmarsh? "
How could I tell him I'd spent the last fifteen minutes photographing some dead bracken?
View From The Jordan Hide
Also known as the Tower Hide, it gives splendid views across the grassland and pools. Marsh Harriers quartered the area. Lots of Wigeon too.
I've always loved this spot and now there's an information board telling me that this small pond was once the mouth of an estuary until it was cut off from the sea by the shifting dune system. It keeps its level by sea water seeping through the sand. The water is salty and it still supports several marine species.