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Old Sunday 23rd March 2003, 23:08   #1
Karl J
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Strumpshaw, Berney & Breydon Water, Norfolk

Up early and with a superbly clear blue sky all around and the sparrows on Yarmouth train station in fine voice, this morning seemed like it could be the start of a good day. As the train went across Breydon I was treated to fine views of the surrounding countryside and wildlife with the most notable being a Barn Owl flying alongside, 2 Kestrel, and the first time I've seen one out of a train window - a Marsh Harrier. Also a couple of foxes, another first as I've never seen 2 together before. From Reeedham and on through Cantley the swirling marsh mists brought an eerie, surreal feeling to the journey, where you sort of get the feeling King Arthur is going to come riding into view..... Yes ok, maybe not. Approaching Brundall it cleared away though.

No mist but plenty of birdsong, various finches and tits, through the village and down the lane to Strumpshaw reserve which, as ever, was superb. Most notable for me were, a wonderful view of a GS Woodpecker, took a bit of finding at first but gave a marvellous close view when I did track it down. Marsh Harrier nest building, Shoveler following each other round and round, a Canada Goose laying down the law to a Greylag and the sound of Cetti's Warbler. Seriously noteworthy, Chinese Water Deer ( not birds I know but thought I'd mention it as they're very seldom seem ). Few Brimstone butterfly and a Tortoisehell, or something that looked pretty similar, as well as a Stoat which was very relaxed about things and let me get really quite close before disappearing into the undergrowth.

Mid-day was time to press on, train back toward Yarmouth and got off at Berney Arms, which if you've never been there, is best described as 'a platform in the middle of a field'. Nothing around for miles except a few windmills, a pub and the river. Most numerous out here were Wigeon, Coot and Lapwing, not as many Lapwing as a few weeks ago, I gather some are migrants ( ?? ) but still quite a few about. The Weavers Way path back towards Yarmouth has the river running along one side and farmland on the other which brought views of Meadow Pipit , Skylark, Grey Heron and a large flock of Starling amongst others. This is a really quiet and peaceful area, although at times could be called lonely, but today in the superb sunshine with a cooling breeze blowing along the river, I was happy to call it peaceful.

It's about 5 miles to Yarmouth from Berney and late(ish) afternoon brought me to Breydon Water, and by sheer luck I coincided with the end of a rising tide, so plenty of waders on show here, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Redshank, Curlew. There's a very convenient stile near the westernmost hide, if you ever come this way, handy to sit on or lean against and it looks right over the mudflat so a bit of a break was in order here. Only about 1/2 hour though with the sun getting lower in the sky the birds were fast becoming silhouettes against the glistening of the river, very picturesque but called it a day at that point and just caught Asda for a few supplies before it closed - so ending quite a memorable day.

A complete list, below, if you want to read it ;
House ( or train station ! ) Sparrow, Kestrel, Marsh Harrier, Barn Owl, Rook, Robin, LongTail / Blue / Great / Coal / Marsh Tit, Greenfinch, RedLegged Partridge, Coot, Moorhen, Pheasant, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Blackbird, Shoveler, GC Grebe, Cormorant, Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Goldcrest, Treecreeper, BlackHeaded Gull, Chaffinch, Wren, Dunnock, YellowHammer, GS Woodpecker, Wigeon, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Starling, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Dunlin, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Shelduck, Curlew .... + 2 foxes, a Chinese Water Deer, Brimstone & Tortoiseshell butterfly, Stoat and several Rabbits ( or Hares - sorry dunno the difference). Few wild flowers coming along - Lesser Celadine and Red DeadNettle being 2 that I can remember
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Old Sunday 23rd March 2003, 23:24   #2
steve_nova
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Looks like you really did have a memorable day. That's quite a tally there.
The weather this last week has been quite exceptional over just about the whole country. Long may it last (without causing any water shortages of course!)
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Old Sunday 23rd March 2003, 23:35   #3
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Karl, sounds like you had a superb day out. Particularly interested to note what you say about the GS woodpecker. On my last visit to the reserve I had excellent view of one and actually stood under the tree in which it was drumming (along the sandy lane) something I had not seen before.

Ian.
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Old Sunday 23rd March 2003, 23:54   #4
Andrew
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Quite a good day then? I would love to have a train journey like yours!
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Old Monday 24th March 2003, 00:56   #5
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What an enjoyable read,thanks for sharing it. I used to know that area well and have been back from time to time.I'm currently sojourning in the USA (Florida)where despite its name of the 'Sunshine State' its been raining all day!
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Old Monday 24th March 2003, 06:57   #6
T0ny
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Karl,
It's great reading accounts of areas in the south of the county which I've not been to yet. I particularly appreciate the descriptions of train journeys, since that is my main mode of transport. May I make a small request ? Could you state the name of the railway station(s) at which you alight, so I know where to ask for when I decide to go there ?

Thanks a Million.

Tony
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Old Monday 24th March 2003, 09:19   #7
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Karl, outstanding report! Fetched back memories of my BR days, early morning trains across Lancashire and Yorkshire. I wasn't particularily into birding at the time, but have always loved those misty landscapes, with the sunrise... ah, nostalgia!
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Old Monday 24th March 2003, 10:14   #8
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Thank you for sharing your report, sounds like you`ve had a good day birding, the weather really has been superb over the last week, but it doesn`t seem to have brought through many summer migrants, lets hope that they come flooding back soon!
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Old Monday 24th March 2003, 20:26   #9
Karl J
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Yes T0ny, trains stations are ; Gt Yarmouth for Breydon Water, Brundall for Strumpshaw reserve, and Berney Arms for Berney. But one note, Berney definitely needs some forward planning as there aren't many trains going that way, you can walk there from Yarmouth but it's about a 10 mile round trip if you have to walk back again. Sunday is the best day of the week to get there by train.
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