Our interests outside our own reserves often lie somewhere similar - I was lucky enough to spend the Wildlife Trust's 100th birthday last month at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust nature reserve Cley Marshes on the North Norfolk coast.
The day began sunny and warm as I was shown round by warden Bernard Bishop. Bernard, now in his 60s, was born in a house overlooking the marsh and has spent his entire life growing up around this magical place. He has a wealth of knowledge about the toography and species to be found amongst the reed beds, pools, scrapes and dunes.
For those who have not visited Cley it is well worth the trip and if you book on a Wednesday you can take a very informative 'walk with the warden'.
On my walk with Bernard we were accompanied by a TV film crew, there for the 100th birthday of the Wildlife Trusts, and I was pleased to do an interview on camera for Look East about WWT and in particular Feckenham WM reserve. Although the site is significantly larger than Feckenham Wylde Moor, our reed management for wildlife habitat is identical. At Cley, however, they also cut reed commercially every year for thatching.
A real bonus was the sighting of the elusive bearded tit. I managed to see both male and female darting through the reeds and was fortunate to catch a photograph of both with this male staying still for just long enough to capture it's distinctive 'beard'.
In all I recorded 75 different bird species over the three days which included black-tailed godwit (still in winter plumage), pintail, little egret, Egyptian goose and red kite.
On the Thursday I took a trip to Blakeney Point to see the common and grey seals. Along the estuary there were common, sandwich, Artic and little tern - all of which breed amongst the dunes. There were also hundreds of Russian dark-bellied brent geese.
During my three days I also saw 8 marsh harriers, including a breeding pair at Holkham where there was also a colony of breeding spoonbill. All in all a very pleasant and informative trip. I shall be returning soon.
Paul, Feckenham Wylde Moor