Last Friday morning I went over to Winterton to do the last Breeding Bird Survey of the season and also to do a walk round two of the areas I’d had for the Bird Atlas just before recording finishes. I started the BBS survey at 06:35 and finished the last bit of the rest of the walk at 11.55! It was a bit of a marathon but very enjoyable, and the weather did just what was forecast 🙂
I’m putting the pictures I took in as a slideshow (I hope!). They start after I’ve done the first 100 yards or so of the BBS survey, looking back towards the church then moving north through the dunes to the beach. Then the survey route goes south along the edge of the beach up on the dune path. Anyone reading the Princelings stories may remember that Fred gets shipwrecked on ‘Summerton’ beach, and it’s where George lands his plane before they get the landing strip ready. So this is the beach! I’m not sure whether the slideshow is a good idea, let me know what you think.
After I finished the survey (07.45) I went back to the car (parked in the village), bought some breakfast from the village shop then set out along the edge of the dunes to see if I could spot any more birds, and especially gather evidence that they are breeding there, usually through them carrying food in their beaks, or feeding fledglings. ‘Agitated behaviour’ such as them leading me away from their nests or complaining bitterly about my presence, also counts. I had my breakfast on a sandy mound near the fence where I saw stonechat, meadow pipits, skylarks and linnet all looking like they were attending nests. Then I wandered up to the flood relief Gap in the dunes and took some more photos of the beach, especially with the stormy clouds that had now gathered. They passed though, and I set off inland through fairly uninteresting farmland and woods looping round back to the village, although I did see whitethroat with a fledgling or two, a baby moorhen, and a marsh harrier being mobbed by rooks and gulls as she flew off carrying something like a weasel or small rodent in her talons. Proof of breeding!
On the lane back to the village there were lots of birds including a nightingale that started yelling melodiously at me in spite of my chatting to an elderly man walking his bike along, who just seemed to want to tell me his life story!
Then I nipped along to Somerton Staithe in the car to see how it was recovering from the flood defence work that had been carried out from the time I did the original survey to now. The reed warblers were obviously nesting again, and probably the pied wagtail, and there were plenty of swallows around, but it wasnt as busy as it had been two years ago. It’ll recover though.
The view at the mill looks towards Horsey Mere and Hickling across the reeds. Just the right sort of place for the Castle in the Marsh!