Thursday 3rd March light W Very sunny until late PM
Staying in the excellent Wells Youth Hostel means that the ride to Blakeney Marsh for a target bird, lapland bunting, is easy in the early morning sunshine with a light breeze behind me.
There's a lot of duck on a poll at Blakeney Quay; blue-winged teal, garganey, ross' goose, hooded merganser, puna teal and a male ferruginous drake but as they are within a fence I may not count them!
The laplands couldn't be easier as a group of ten or so birders are watching as one by one the birds come up onto the fence and although views are brief and not that good due to the birds being in line with the strong sun.
Two barn owls are hunting in the area and I see another as I cycle towards Cley along the redone sea wall.
After the iconic views of Cley's famous windmill and after passing the famous house that was the site for Nancy's cafe, still sorely missed after all these years, I go to the large Cley Marsh visitor's centre for a drink and cake. I am invited to sit down by two strangers as all of the tables are taken.
Out onto the reserve, I cycle along the East Bank, also with it's path redone, and push the bike along the shingle searching for the reported snow buntings. Not finding them, I chain the bike to the fence and proceed down to Salthouse. It is amazing to see how far the shingle was taken inland during the terrific storms of two years ago. In some places the shingle is two hundred yards away from its original position. I am interested in why areas of shingle have been moved so much where as in other places it hasn't. Also interesting are the brick walls and posts revealed which I presume are from WW2 defences.
Back to the bike I can see three people who have binoculars trained down on a shingle depression near to it. The snow buntings are next to my bike!
A couple of bird photographers ensure that the birds don't stay too long and the flock flies off down the beach.
They return though and I sit down rest against a fence post and watch fascinated as they feed by flicking over small pebbles in search of seeds. Occasionally individuals squabble but a wonderful privilege to be able to sit quietly and watch them close by.
So the year list is 179, twenty four ahead of this time last year.
23.63 Miles 699 feet elevation up 699 feet elevation down