After being so fed up yesterday morning I went off to Horsey in the afternoon to cheer myself up. I parked on the Nelson's Head footpath and had a long windy walk down to the dunes. By the time I got to the end of the track my ears felt like an elephant had stamped on them and I was wishing for some of those pink fluffy bunny earmuffs little girls wear. Probably not the best way to be taken seriously by the local birders but at that moment I really would not have cared. Sadly there were no little girls within mugging distance so I had to do without.
A few yards from the end of the track I spotted the first sign of life, a Wheatear. My first this year, I was starting to think I was going to go the whole spring and not see a single one! Then just like busses there was suddenly three of them. I watched them for about five minutes savouring the moment and the fact that I had found the shelter of the dunes and my ears were coming back to life. Sadly a loud family with rabid children came storming by and that was the last I saw of the Wheatears. They were so loud! I could hear them coming from about half a mile away, I sometime wonder if when presented with silence some people feel the need to fill it.
My next treat was a gorgeous Cuckoo sitting on a post. I had been scanning the field and looking at Meadow Pipits trying to make them into the Tawny Pipit that was there not so long ago. When I took the bins down there was the Cuckoo about twenty yards away from me. I honestly think that was the best view I have had of a Cuckoo, usually they are flyovers or a brief perched view before it flies off. This one sat for a few minutes before some dog walkers (nice ones not rabid ones) came down the path so the bird flew right past me (yes I kept the bins on it for a great close up) and landed about the same distance away further down the track. When the dog walkers drew level with me they asked me what it was and said it had been pacing them for ages, flying on a little way when thier dogs got near it.
After that lovely treat I went up on the dunes via a wooden staircase (how civilised!) and found that there was a sort of viewing platform at the top on the dunes. I imagine that is for when the seals are breeding and the beach is roped off. There were several seals in the water and a couple (human not seal) in wetsuits shoulder deep in the water with seals all around them. Every time a wave came the seals disappeared and popped up somewhere else, sometimes just a few feet away from them. It was great watching the delight on their faces till I realised that I looked like a stalker watching them with binoculars from the dunes! I had to quickly turn my attention a bit of a seawatch which was after all what I had really gone up there for. I was thrilled to see my first Gannet of the year. Yes I did say thrilled, Gannets are one of my favourite birds and its been a very tricky year so far and I have not seen much! There was also a couple of flying ducks, possibly Eider very far out moving very fast and low over the water. Sadly I am not up to IDing flying dots like that so I could only guess and hope that one day I will crack seawatching.
Today I had intended to go back to How Hill and see if the bluebells were out but courtesy of Barclays Bank that was not to be. Sadly answering the phone is not their strong point and after half an hour of being in a queue I decided it would be quicker to drive the 9 miles to Stalham and do the job in person. It was. Much. Thanks Barclays for spoiling my afternoon, it was a lovely and sunny!