Well, I thought I had it all worked out! Start at Salthouse, go to Cley and then on to Kelling Heath. It worked out , but only sort of!
Starting at Salthouse I managed to see the Richards Pipit which has been in residence for a little time. Not particularly good views, but conclusive and better than some I've had in the past. Later the bird appeared to move into the centre of the field and was lost to view. It was then that the rain started! Thank goodness for Radio 4!
With conditions improving slightly I called in at the Cley centre to say "Hello" to Patrick (Dwyer) and then returned to Salthouse to see if conditions might improve and closer views might be had of the pipit. It didn't work out so I sat it out and, eventually, things improved a little in that the rain stopped. I moved on to Kelling with the intention of then calling back to Cley late in the afternoon. After a walk around the reserve I was considering my next move when I bumped into local resident, John Wagstaff, who is closely connected to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and spends a deal of his time on the heath. So commenced what was a fascinating afternoon with us discussing a wide range of natural history topics. John's knowledge is immense, no doubt based on what appears to be a couple of visits each day to the heath! Whilst touring around the heath our discussions ranged over Adders and their movements and emergence times, Hen Harrier roosting and site selection, Silver-studded Blue butterfly introductions and monitoring, Dartford Warblers and Woodlark and the habitat management work being undertaken on the heath. I now feel guilty at the bombardment of questions I put John's way, but he didn't seem to mind. Given most of my own birding activities are on a solo basis on Islay meeting someone like this provided for an utterly fascinating and absorbing afternoon. I certainly went away having had various questions answered more than adequately and I hope we'll be able to meet up again when I'm in the area.
The idea of visiting Cley never reached fruition as we didn't part company until after 1800 hours, which meant most of my journey westwards was during the dusk or in darkness. The compensation was that I had sightings of four individual Barn Owls whilst travelling back to Hunstanton!
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