Saturday, 25 July 2009

No Great Spotted Cuckoos here....

Although today's trip to Norfolk didn't produce the 'big one' I was hoping for, it was still very pleasant. I came away with a whole heap of pleasing photos, a yeartick in the form of two adult Curlew Sandpipers... and sunburnt arms!

Arriving at Salthouse just after 7am, a number of birders were already scattered between the beach carpark, the coast road, and Kelling Water Meadows. I recce'd with Shaun and the Dip Monkey, and we did our bit searching the area east of the water meadows towards the Muckleburgh collection. However, despite excellent looking habitat and our collective best efforts, we couldn't find a Cuckoo of any description, let along a Great Spotted. Some other birders were trying more novel bird-finding strategies, but I feel this is probably not in the bird's best interests...

The other guys headed back home mid morning to recoup brownie points and do some window fitting, leaving me happily messing about with the macro lens again. Two species in particular were amazingly abundant: 7-spot ladybirds were just everywhere, surely numbering in the hundreds of thousands, with every fence post covered in them!

And there had obviously been a big hatch of 'new' Painted Lady butterflies, much fresher-looking than those in the initial arrival.

As I continued my walk along the north edge of Kelling Water Meadows, I very nearly failed to notice a group of Sand Martins perched on a low wire fence. Fortunately I stopped dead when the first one chirruped in alarm, and they stayed put, giving great photo opportunities. I'm really happy with the first shot in particular - one of the best I've taken, in my opinion.

All the brambles and thistles along the tracks round Kelling were covered in more butterflies than I've seen in quite a while. Gatekeepers were very abundant:

... and the supporting cast included Peacocks and many Six-spot Burnet moths.

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