Anniversary ramblings

Today was our 38th wedding anniversary and so we celebrated with a walk on Kelling Heath followed by lunch at Cley and a quick walk there too! To be honest 38 years can go by quite quickly, and the great thing is that we’ve always had a shared interest in natural history (and music of course!). Actually I think it was my original interest in birds that sparked Brenda’s interest in both birds and wild flowers…..but she may remember it differently (one thing that has changed in 38 years is that my memory has got worse!).

I had hoped to show Brenda a woodlark or two at Kelling, but they weren’t showing today. We did see a pair of stonechats though, and plenty of linnets. There was a kestrel circling the area and several passing buzzards. At one point Brenda caught a glimpse of what we reckon was a male adder. I’d like to spend more time trying to see adders on this heath.

We also failed to see any Dartford warblers, though I did catch a very brief view of what I think may well have been one: But since I have never seen this species in the UK I’m going to wait for a definite view before I note it down!

A dunlin in full summer plumage (photo taken 2013)

At Cley we saw a solitary spoonbill and plenty of dunlin and black-tailed godwit, all of which are now beginning to get their summer plumage. The long-staying long-billed dowitcher was also still on view. I think it’s now been at Cley for nearly six months…..I guess it just can’t face flying back across the Atlantic. Can’t say I blame it!

Brenda writes: “While Steve was attending a dental appointment I had a brief walk down to the west end of the Sheringham promenade which abuts the golf course. I love the way they have preserved elements of its Victorian seaside charm with borders of bedding plants, a lovely water feature and a pristine model boating pool. At this point there are apartment blocks with views over the sea and up on the prom there was a brisk wind off the sea. One plot, for whatever reason, was never built on and nature has been allowed to ‘do its own thing’ so it’s a mass of wild flowers now and along the edge among some dandelions was the first of my new species today, common fumitory, which is a scrambling plant with branched leaves. The flowers form a cluster at the end of every stalk, each flower pink with a much darker tip.

common fumitory

It’s a long time since I’ve been to Kelling Heath and I had forgotten how wonderful this landscape is particularly at this time of year when the gorse is in full bloom. After a lovely walk during which we had views of stonechats but failed yet again to glimpse a Dartford warbler, I saw my second new flower of the day, another scrambling plant but this time from the pea family. Hairy tare has tendrils like a pea plant, with small clusters of white flowers.

hairy tare

After lunch at the visitor centre at Cley we went to the hides where I was able to see the long-billed dowitcher feeding alongside black-tailed godwits in full summer plumage and then, as the weather closed in, we headed for home.”

New species for April 20th:
Flowers: common fumitory, hairy tare