Posted by: digibirder | October 28, 2008

It’s cold, and dark!

Quacky Pete was off to Norfolk with Tricia, so Keith and I decided to make a weekend of it as well, except while they were cosy in their hotel, we decided camping would be a good idea! Well, Keith decided camping would be a good idea – he’s been trying to convince me for ages that late-season camping is OK. I sort of went along with it this time, in order that it may keep him from ever suggesting it again in winter. Well, I know theoretically it’s autumn, but it felt more like winter. We have warm sleeping bags, but we took plenty of blankets and a duvet to be on the safe side. It wasn’t that much of a problem, except that on Saturday night there was a howling gale blowing and I thought we were going to take off. There wasn’t much shelter on the campsite so we were in the full path of the wind. It then started to rain heavily and I was really regretting the camping decision.

Another reason not to be so cheerful was the fact that the site did not have electric hook-up and we forgot the camping gaz lantern, so we were sitting in the dark from quite early in the evening, especially after the clocks went back on Saturday night! Luckily, we were dining with Pete and Trish on Saturday night, so we were in the hotel for most of the evening. We managed to find a hardware store and bought a wind-up lantern, which gave enough light to see what we were doing, but not enough to read by. We did have a wind-up torch but that was knackered so we had to buy another one of those from the campsite store, but again it didn’t emit enough light to read by. The gas heater, which is a useful addition on a cooler summer evening, was not that efficient as a winter warmer, so we sat wrapped in blankets until we decided that getting into the sleeping bags would be a better plan – this was usually about 8pm, except for Sunday night when it was 7pm.

We arrived on Friday afternoon. Pete and Trish arrived Saturday morning and met us at Deepdale Café for breakfast, which was quite delicious. Suitably nourished, We then drove Titchwell RSPB reserve. There was a distinct lack of bird life around. I wasn’t very snap-happy, so you’ll have to look at Pete’s or Tricia’s photos to get an idea of what we saw. We had a light lunch in the cafe at Titchwell, and then drove round to Thornham to see if we could see the Twite. No luck there, and it was starting to rain, so we called it a day. Keith and I drove into Hunstanton to buy a lantern and then back to the campsite to have a shower and prepare for our evening meal with Pete and Trish at Briarfields.

On Sunday morning we drove over to Briarfields for breakfast with Pete and Trish, and were also joined by Dave and his wife Joy, who came for the day. After another hearty breakfast, we again went to Titchwell, where we stayed until the rain eased off. Highlight of the morning was a Bittern flying over. We then drove along the coast to Cley NWT reserve, where the birds were a bit more plentiful. We had lunch in the new visitor centre, before Dave and Joy had to leave, and the four of us then spent a couple of hours wandering round the reserve. Highlight here was a Grey Phalarope, but it was a little distant. We said our goodbyes to Pete and Tricia and returned to the campsite. I was feeling quite tired, having not slept much in the previous night’s storm, so we had quite an early night. Keith did try to read for a while in the torchlight, but it was quite difficult.

On Monday morning, suitably rested, having been in bed ten hours, we packed up the trailer tent ready for leaving, but as it was a nice day we asked if we could leave it in the campsite car park for a few hours to give us a bit more birding time. We drove over to Holkham, where we bumped into Pete and Tricia again, but it was also packed with people and kids and dogs so we didn’t see many birds and didn’t stay long. We again said goodbye and drove back to the campsite. Before hitching up the trailer tent, we had lunch in the Deepdale café, including some local cider (which was quite delicious so we bought a couple of bottles!).

As I mentioned, I wasn’t very snap-happy, so here are a few photos from the weekend.

Sanderling on Titchwell beach

View over Cley nature reserve

Another view of Cley from one of the hides

Skein of geese coming in to land at Holkham (probably Pink-footed)



  1. as ever lovely to see you Diane.

    camping in January??

  2. Really good to see you both again; but glad to hear you’re warm again 😀

  3. I love those landscapes! Brrrr….

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