I’ve been cracking on with decorating the living room this week so chances to get out with my camera have been few and far between. It’s nearly done now, thankfully.
This shot was taken last Sunday on a dull, grey day at Eaton Park in Norwich. Years ago my running buddy spotted a heron at the pond but we have never seen once since and it’s become a long standing joke. I even mentioned it this time but as we jogged by I noticed a head below the wall and emergency stopped mid-run to grab a photo on my phone. I snapped it quickly just in case it flew away but also because I didn’t want to interrupt our run for too long. I like the fact it’s standing next to the “no fishing” sign.
To see what other people have submitted for Darren’s My Sunday Photo please click on the camera below.
A chilly Sunday afternoon in December might not sound like the ideal time to visit a nature reserve but it was perfect for our little family.
There was no one to mind as Freya’s volume control went a bit haywire when we were sat in the otherwise empty hide and she spotted a heron. Or when she had a temper tantrum when the sun started to set and we told her it was time to go home – she apparently thought we were glamping again and spending in the night in the hide.
Poor bean, she really loves being outside – and Hickling Broad, which is managed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT), is an exceptional place to do it.
Among other things, this year-round wildlife haven is apparently one of the best sites in Norfolk to hear the strange booming call of the endangered Bittern (listen by clicking here). You might even see one, if you’re very lucky.
I remember writing a feature about this secretive bird many years ago which involved spending an exhilarating (if cold) spring afternoon standing amid the reeds hoping to hear/see one. Just as we were packing up to leave one flew right over our heads.
According to the Hickling Broad section on the trust’s website:
In 1911 the naturalist Emma Turner found a nesting pair of bitterns in extensive reedbeds – the first confirmation that the species had bred in the UK since 1886.
Last Sunday we were just pleased to be enjoying the fresh air in such a beautiful place. With an energetic three-year-old in tow I didn’t really have much hope of spotting anything but as well as Freya’s heron we also saw some egrets for the first time.
The sun was already setting by this point so it wasn’t the ideal time for me (with my limited skills) to try and take bird photos.
While the reserve has been in NWT’s care since 1945, it does not own it in its entirety and earlier this year 655 acres of the Hickling Broad Estate were put on the market.
The trust reached agreement to buy the land, which makes up almost half of its reserve, for £2.5m. While funding of £1.5m has already been secured, NWT needs a further £1m by March next year to purchase this nationally and internationally important wetland for wildlife.
Freya and I ignored all the jobs we had to do on Monday (ok, mainly me) and enjoyed some much needed open space and fresh air at one of our favourite places, Whitlingham Country Park – and, goodness, it was worth it.
As we were looking at various ducks and swans and enjoying the peace and quiet something caught my eye out on the water. Luckily I had my big camera with me and when I zoomed in I captured the photo above.
I’m a bit clueless when it comes to bird identification but I knew it was big and wondered if it was a grey heron (later confirmed by the wonderful folks on Twitter). I’m sad that I didn’t see it fly away as I bet that would be a sight to see (maybe next time).
Speaking of birds, the day before we had a quick walk around our local park and just as we were about to leave I looked up to see a little robin singing sweetly in the tree. I managed to take a couple of photos before it was off but it was such a dark day and only one of them was really any good so I had a play around with another. What do you think?