Friday, 27 January 2012

Fens and films

A busy day today has been, from start to end. I spent it with my great friend Rebecca, PR and communications manager at Norfolk Wildlife Trust, making three more short films in our series on Living Landscapes.

Rebecca and I seem quite remarkably jammy where weather is concerned. Last time we were up to our tricks, in the Bure and Thurne valleys in Broadland, we hit the only sunny day in a fortnight. It was ferociously cold but the sun grinned at us and, a big bonus for me, female ring-necked and ferruginous ducks were both to be seen in a big flock of pochard and tufted ducks at NWT Ranworth Broad. I have not alas coaxed these two ladies onto my 2012 yearlist but once again today, in West Norfolk, we struck the week’s only sunshine; so much so that, thanks to a sprightly wind too, my nose is now quite rosy.

The morning we spent at NWT Roydon Common, one of Norfolk’s finest heaths and our county’s last great swathes of wildness. Here I was hoist by my own proverbial petard, or rather by The Rules I’ve made for my yearlist. In neighbouring sandy fields a grey partridge scraped his strange song but, since I could not see him, he did not count. And, would you believe it, as I spoke to the camera a woodlark broke into song above me. The song of the woodlark is the soul’s voice: at once happy and sad, at once wistful and joyful. But could I look up from filming?

I saw no lark.

I did manage a single, small, streaky, greeny addition to the yearlist today: a siskin. This afternoon we were filming at one of NWT’s most exciting reserves, Hilgay, where from the rich black soils of a fenland farm more than 60 hectares of reedbed and marsh are being carved by a happy yellow digger. Here a big flock of goldfinches wove through a ribbon of alderwood. Among them I could hear siskins but such is my scrupulous devotion to The Rules that I would not count the culprits until I was sure I they were directly in my sights. Ticking on the law of averages will not do. Happily for me a single siskin split from the flock giving its introspective little call. Siskin. 110.


Eurasian siskin
Carduelis spinus

2012 Totals
Mammals: 9
Birds: 110
Reptiles: 0
Amphibians: 0
Fish: 0

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