The work aspect of this weekend was unfortunately cancelled a few days before the start date due to some illness with our contact at the Hawk and Owl Trust. We however decided to go ahead with the trip, changing the status of the weekend to a ‘social!’
We went to the reserve at Sculthorpe Moor - our intended place of work - and were welcomed to tour the reserve. What a treat this turned out to be! The entire place is an absolute gem of a reserve. All the paths are raised boardwalks and from the many hides that are there we were lucky enough to see: Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, Brambling, a Nuthatch and a Water Rail, amongst many others. The best was saved for the last hide where we all saw a Bittern. A gentleman from Hertfordshire had been there since 8.00am that morning and had his (expensive) camera and tripod trained onto the bird. It was mostly stationary but every now and again would plunge its head into the water to pull out a frog! The chap with the camera had video clips from during the morning showing this frog catching action and he was happy to show these to anyone wishing to watch.
The weather was bitter and very windy (which quite possibly might have resulted in the work being called off had we made a start); however we were well kitted out and enjoying ourselves tremendously with the wildlife we were seeing. In the evening we had a meal in a nice Italian restaurant and earlier some of us saw ‘Tomb Raider’ at the local cinema.
On the Sunday we drove out to near the beach at Wells next the Sea and walked along the coastline for a while. Once again we experienced howling winds and also a sandstorm. It had snowed the previous night and the sand was hard and felt frozen. The wind chill temperature was probably around minus 5 at a guess.
Un-daunted, we continued along the beach, eventually cutting inland to the welcome shelter of woods and out of the fierce wind. A welcome visit to the beach café followed where we were suitably fortified with coffees and teas, savoury pasties, huge scones and sometimes both! We then visited Holkham Hall and spent a few hours walking around the grounds, which was most enjoyable.
On the journey back to Lincoln we stopped for a meal and reflected on what was another excellent weekend. Hopefully we might go back to the Dunton Centre and re-book our working weekend for September to find out what we missed. It was tough to fully occupy ourselves as we weren’t working but I think the eight of us managed it rather well!
Pictures courtesy of Jeff