Welcome to my adventures and explorations of my local patch. I hope you enjoy reading about my experiences of the wonders of wild Norfolk, and occasionally further afield. I would love to hear from you if you have been to similar places, can identify any of the things I see, or if you have any suggestions for where I could visit next. This blog has been featured in BBC Wildlife Magazine as part of their local patch reporters project.
Tuesday, 20 January 2015
After not visiting this reserve in over a year, I've made two trips in as many weeks! I took a friend to visit the reserve as she had never visited before, so we made the most of it. As I mentioned in my previous post, Pensthorpe has a mixture of captive animals and wild; we bought food to feed any that would come to us, and ended up with a following of ducks and geese of various shapes and sizes. This is always a perfect opportunity to photograph these birds, as long as they don't try to clamber over your feet, like a sweet little smew tried to do to me!
This all happens around 'Mill Pond', the closest body of water to the reserve entrance. Not including the captive birds, we saw a total of 24 different species, including one rather unexpected bird from a distance across this 'pond'. They keep Eurasian cranes as part of their conservation programme, but wild cranes have been reported here, and we saw one in the distance at the edge of the water. The close up images, however, I have to admit, are of their captive cranes.
Walking on from the conservation centre, the trail continues between two large lakes, where tufted ducks could be found in abundance. Eventually, this becomes a woodland trail where a small bird hide is nestled amongst the trees. There are a range of bird feeders here, and the scene looks like what I wish my eventual garden could look like; woodland birds everywhere, fluttering in from all directions. Blue tits, great tits, coal tits, chaffinches, robins, nuthatches... there was even an extremely confiding muntjac deer nibbling at the dropped seeds below the feeders, which stayed the entire time we were there, completely oblivious to, or comfortable with, our presence.
Wild Eurasian crane
It was a cold and icy day, and the rest of the walk was spent marvelling at the beautiful scenery; frozen water and frost kissed reeds and rushes.