Norfolk day and night
- Credit: James Bass
If the weather conditions are right then the dawn of an October day will find me on Norfolk’s east coast, most likely in the dunes at Winterton.
If the weather conditions are right then the dawn of an October day will find me on Norfolk’s east coast, most likely in the dunes at Winterton. This is where the spectacle of the autumn bird migration is best seen, at least here within the UK. Favourable winds and some overnight rain on the coast can result in a “fall” of migrants, the bushes alive with thrushes and warblers. It is the south dunes that I tend to favour, arriving just as the dawn begins and before the dunes busy with local dog walkers. The low, sloping cliffs, which are covered with bramble and scrub, echo with the sounds of birds calling from cover. By late morning I will have moved into the north dunes, still soaking up the atmosphere and hopeful of a passing wryneck or pipit. While Winterton lacks the sense of space that you get at Holkham on the north coast, it always delivers a memorable day at this time of the year.
Unlike the summer evenings, when I have the opportunity to spend time in Thetford Forest watching nightjars, or those of early winter, when I may be out looking to catch and ring tawny owls, the October nights turn my focus towards home, to company and a good book. October is also a time for friends and music. The number of gigs increases with the students back at university and Norwich Arts Centre becomes a regular haunt. Norwich has a vibrant music scene, with some fantastic local bands (especially those on the local Gravy Records label) and promoters. In particular, October means Norwich Sound and Vision, a weekend pass to a whole host of musical genres. October is also the beginning of the main season for talks and I am increasingly out and about talking on owls and other birds to birdwatching societies, local clubs and other groups. It is a busy but enjoyable month.
Read Mike’s writing on nature in our sister newspaper, the Eastern Daily Press and on his blog, http://in-the-countryside.blogspot.com/
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