Thursday, 21 August 2014

Another Norfolk jaunt..

I've been a bit quiet on the blog front of late, time seems to be whizzing by and the only surefire way to slow everything down and relax, is a trip to Norfolk.
For those who don't know, we plan on leaving the 'joys' of London for the beauty of Norfolk, in (hopefully) no more than 5yrs from now. In the meantime, we have to settle for short camping trips or the odd day out there, for our little dose of tranquility.

So a few weeks back we packed our smaller, short-stay tent and headed for Sandringham, which is a fantastic setting within the forest, yet still not far from the North Norfolk coast. I managed a couple of trips to Titchwell [thanks to Mrs Kerr (@ceashell7) for making that happen!] and as usual, was not disappointed. The highlights for me, being a couple of Wood Sandpipers, Spotted Crake and Arctic Skuas out at sea.

Wood Sandpiper up close and not phased one iota by anyone

Bizarre behaviour by the Spotted Crake, climbing the reeds to put on a show before diving back down for cover

Unfortunately, the Skuas were too far out for me to get any half decent photos but it was fantastic to watch two of these birds doing what they do - the Sandwich Tern that lost its lunch wasn't too happy though!
Beyond those Eiders somewhere is a Sandwich Tern getting the Skua treatment - trust me!

Back at the campsite, it soon became apparent that some of the site lighting made fantastic moth traps - only problem being that the best lights were those outside the toilet blocks! A few funny looks later, I decided that the best bet was to take Archie with me and make us look as unassuming as each holding a net and pots, and acting as enthusiastic as possible towards anything with wings! Yes. I know. However I word it - I was hanging around outside the toilet blocks. at night.
HOWEVER, loitering by the toilets did get me this lovely little selection of moths:

Lesser Swallow Prominent - Pheosia gnoma

Large Emerald - Geometra papilionaria

A rather fresh Agonopterix alstromeriana

Birch Mocha - Cyclophora albipunctata
It also was also a (sad and probably pathetic) excuse to celebrate my first Thorn!..told you it was sad.. I'm still yet to have any Thorn species visit the moth light at home, so this was a nice touch:
Canary-shouldered Thorn - Ennomos alniaria

As well as no less than 50 Black Arches, was a single of this little fella, which I think is either a Brown-tail, or a Yellow-tail. Admittedly I've not put much time into trying to ID this yet, but feel free to save me the time and give your 2 pennies worth on it:
Brown-tail or Yellow-tail moth

Also had a lovely day at RSPB Strumpshaw and saw so much that I shall save it for a seperate blog. Such a lovely place, saw Barn Owl and Bittern as well as a couple of minutes watching a Willow Tit 'working' the short trees that lined the path - not a bird that I've seen a lot of, so was nice to be able to sit and enjoy close views.
Various dragon and damselflies, Clouded Border moths and a Wainscot species I've yet to have a good look at. This next beauty though, was a real treat:
Caterpillar of a Swallowtail Butterfly

Lastly, within the surrounding Sandringham woodland, Archie enjoyed learning and practicing a few new outdoor tips. I love that he enjoys the natural world as much as we do (for now at least!)..
Leaving 'stick arrows' to find our way back

Locating and collecting Silver Birch bark as tinder for a fire

That carpets of moss make a lovely soft matress to lay on, under dryer leaves

..and that if the stick makes a good cracking noise - it's good to burn!
We're heading back to Sandringham in the coming weeks and so hopefully, I'll have more to share when we get back. As always, if I've made any ID mistakes - do let me know..

Thanks for reading!