The sun shone brightly on Bank Holiday Monday. We made a prompt start and were soon arriving at Horsey on the Norfolk Broads. We booked in on a wildlife cruise aboard the Lady Ann, and it was not long before we were setting off across the wide expanse of Horsey Mere. The water is practically free of the large Broads cruisers, due to the height of the bridge at nearby Potter Heigham. As we sailed towards the little island of reeds in the photo above, I kept feeling as though we had stepped out of the pages of Arthur Ransome's Coot Club!
Marsh Harrier quartered the adjoining meadows from above.
As I looked around, the derelict vision of Brograve drainage mill came into view.
The photo above was lightened by Photoshop, but I actually think ...
... that this silhouetted view is more evocative.
The photo above shows a trio of Sandpipers, skimming up the dyke.
This is an enlarged shot of them. Our guide told us to keep an eye out for a Kingfisher, and there on cue - astonishingly - was the said bird. It did a quick fly-past and was gone, but I saw the brown plumage turn in a flash to its familiar iridescent sheen of turquoise and amber as it flew out of the shadow. Sadly there was no time even to contemplate a photograph.
So what else did we see? Well, Peacock, Large White and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies in profusion. David caught sight of a Water Vole, but it eluded me. There were also a number of dragonflies, particularly Common Darters and Brown Hawkers.
All too soon it was time to head back towards the staithe. You can see the 5-storey Horsey Windpump in the photo below. It is in the care of the National Trust.
One of the special things about this wildlife cruise was that we were sharing the boat with a nest of near fledgling Swallows. The parent bird zoomed off at regular intervals, and returned with food for the young. It seemed quite extraordinary to me that the birds appeared to be unperturbed by the moving nature of their temporary home. Shades of the dove on Noah's ark, perhaps ...
... towards the windpump.
... which (alas) may well be a Harlequin.
This is one of the female Common Darters. Another landed on the brim of David's hat on a couple of occasions!
Horsey Mere ~ what a great place for wildlife of all kinds!