Norfolk Holiday – Part I

Ok, get yourselves a cup of tea because there’s a serious amount of photos to get through… I am going to divide my photos from Pensthorpe up because there are 100.

Yes you heard that correctly, 100!

I have no idea how I managed it because I’m no great fan of wading/water birds but the photos are mainly of the ducks/geese and a rather beautiful and amazing surprise!

Then there are also photos of some of the gardens… Piet Oudolf’s Millennium Garden in particular was a disappointment; clearly it is geared towards Late Summer/Autumn… Oh well, another time perhaps.
I’d known I was pushing it and with the harsh winter plants are behind – Bluebells are still out compared to this time last year when there was barely any left.

So on with the first instalment:

First stop is the lovely B&B we stayed in, Swanton Morley near Dereham… Called Hunter’s Hall.

It was on a farm, and looked to be converted stables, nice rooms and seemed to work more like a hotel than your average B&B.

Fields, this did have some white British White cows in it on the Sunday, but sadly they’d disappeared on the Monday when we left… There was a huge bull!
From the B&B we set off to Pensthorpe, not really knowing what to expect as all I wanted to see was the Millennium garden…

There are so many water birds here it’s unreal, and so many of them are far too tame. If you don’t like birds around your feet then you may be best avoiding one of the entrances into the reserve – i.e. don’t go in the left entrance, go straight ahead into the nature garden!

A Stork
Lots of Ducks/Geese as promised. Wonderful Mandarins too!
Urm… Any ideas?
Mr Mandarin showing off to his wife
Fluffing up his feathers…
Baby Moorhen??
White Cheeked Pintail
Baby Coots, only a mother could love them!
And indeed she does…
As it began to rain she covered them up…
Red Crested Pochard
Lots of fighting for food
Black Headed Gull
Ruddy Duck
I was thinking Sedge Warbler…
Same again, or a Reed Warbler??
Juvenile Blackbird being protected by dad
Hoard of Greylag (?)Geese coming to attack Pete… Babies made such a cute noise compared to the hissing of the parents! Eeek.
I think this was a baby Barnacle Goose
Ruddy Shelduck
Gorgeous little female Smew, my favourite.
Male Smew
Pretty too, but I don’t know what it is.
Poor one legged Mallard 😉
Another unknown… I’m not very good at this!
Juvenile Mallard maybe?
Sleeping Shelduck
Female Gooseander… Let me tell you, they’re vicious!
Poor little female Smew didn’t stand a chance!
They kept on pushing her under water.
And on our way out we came across this…

Mmm, I smell something
Widgeon?? Nup, urm, no idea!
I thought birds didn’t have teeth!!! Scary. Merganser? No idea. Pretty though.
Male Smew again
Moorhen feeding baby
So what did I learn from all this??

• I know far more ducks/waders/water birds than I thought I knew.
• I still have a long way to go.

(Corrections thanks to Shirl)

11 thoughts on “Norfolk Holiday – Part I

  1. Good warning there on the entrance, Liz :-)Pity Piet’s garden was a disappointment. In my case we were visiting for the birds, we were there in July and I had no idea Piet’s garden was there. I was blown away… sorry.I’d guess yes you’re right with a baby moorhen. I spotted the next bird too on our visit. The birdforum said it was a White Cheeked Pintail. Know what you mean about the Coots. You did way better than me with ID’s! I’ll not say how many I did get 😮 I have to say I was surprisingly taken with the waders too :-)Your first Merganser, looks to me like a female Gooseander. The males have black/deep green heads. We see them in a river up our way. I’m looking through my books now. Below the suspected baby Barnacle I’d say you have a female Ruddy Shelduck. This is getting addictive… time passes… pages flick by… nope think that’s all I can help with… for the moment ;-)A fantastic collection of bird photos from your visit. Favs have to be Mum Coot and her young. A 100 photos… having visited myself, I'm not surprised. Looking forward to seeing more 😀

  2. Hi Liz….yes it is definately a baby moorhen. We have them in the garden every year. In fact had them yesterdey and could not get a photograph.What a lovely place to stay…..looks great.All great photographs as always but the one for me is the coot with her young, and poor mallard……Tks for sharing…..

  3. Hey Shirl,Lol, I just know some people will not appreciate having ducks swarming around them… Scenes from birds spring to mind!Not to worry re: Piet, it just gives me a great reason to go again! Pete already has plans for visiting later in the year lol, he was clearly taken with Norfolk.Thanks for the corrections/ID's, I know I've made a mistake with the teals too but haven't yet checked through my bird books to rectify it, or perhaps they are actually both teals!??

  4. Hi Cheryl,I think Pete wants to go back to the Hall again later in the year, just this lunch he suggested going there for our 10yr anniv.* in September.* 10 years??? Eeeek, where did that come from??!!!!! Argh.I would personally rather go back to Colwick Hall near Nottingham racecourse, but at least this way I'll be able to pop to Pensthorpe too to see Piet's garden.

  5. OMG! What a lovely B&B and an amazing array of fowl!! Gee… so many colors and patterns in their plumage! Beautiful and such cute babies!

  6. Cor blimey!! You have totally pickled my brain, Liz! I have spent an enjoyable hour or more trying to ID some of your mysteries…and not getting far 🙂 However, I'm pretty sure the photo above the 'one legged' Mallard is a Bafflehead Duck and yes, I would say you definitely have a Sedge Warbler there.Like you I was 'never a great fan of wading/water birds' (probably as I live in such a land locked area) but in the last year or so my interest has grown and I now find them fascinating but there is a lot to learn!What a great place to go, Liz. Lovely photos and I am very envious of your visit. I have wanted to go there since first seeing it on Springwatch.A great post and I shall come back to it from time to time and have another go at IDs 🙂

  7. Hi Carol,Yep, plenty of birds there… Never quite expected to see so many, nor so many tame birds. Obviously they are used to lots of people around feeding them!

  8. Hi Anna,Thanks, I was very lucky especially now it’s a fair bit cooler! Even if the colder temperatures are welcome at the moment…Pensthorpe was very nice and we only got to see a small fraction of it, it mainly stayed within a few minutes of the entrance, so barely explored the outer areas of the reserve. I imagine it’s somewhere you need to visit a few times before seeing absolutely everything.Granted, my mother has poorly legs so was unable to get around much, so after lunch she went back to the car whilst Pete and I had a little mosey around on our own.

  9. Hi Jan,I suspect some of the birds are ‘collection’ birds, either escapees or bought in from a breeder so do not worry too much if you’re unable to ID some of them… Maybe they’re even hybrids!In general I stick to my garden birds, I am much more interested in spotting birds like the warblers, and spent a fair amount of time trying to catch them, once I found their singing posts it did make it much easier, because then it’s a matter of waiting for them to come back and claim their territory. The springwatch crew seemed to arrive to start setting up when we were there – at least I assumed it was them, as you’ll see in one of my later posts (nothing too exciting, just a lighting specialists lorry).

  10. Urm… Any ideas? – Goldenye not sure which one from photo?? – merganser of some sort Ruddy Duck – Puna Teal. the next pic as a White headed duck in it.yes sedge then reed I thinkyup graylagwhite faced whistling ducksleeping ??? shoveller??? – baikal tealwidgeon?? Ferugneous (sp) Duck known as Fudge duckhope that helps. ducks rule!

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