After a 3 hour drive eastwards two weeks ago we set up camp on a site within the Sandringham Estate which has been vastly improved and expanded since our previous visit many years ago. The Site Manager asked if we wanted to be in the open or close to the wildlife.....silly question....we chose a shaded spot amongst the trees where we were constantly serenaded by cooing Woodpigeons, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, the occasional noisy Black-headed Gulls and a very vocal Garden Warbler imitating other 'Sylvia' species by day plus hooting Tawny Owl and roding Woodcock by night.
Just in case anyone is interested the folding camper has many 'mod-cons' including mains electric hook-up with 12v transformer, interior lighting, 3-way fridge with a wardrobe above, gas cooker with 3 hobs, grill and oven, sink with drainer, hot water heater, blown air heater (hot and cold), wash room with cassette toilet and hand basin, 2 settees with under seat storage, 2 extended double beds plus room to sleep 2 more using the folding table and seat cushions as a mattress....AND it all folds down to a third the size of a caravan and much easier to tow. The awning doubles the floor space available so there is plenty of room for the two of us to spread out......just like being at home.
Dersingham Bog NNR was only a 30 minute walk or a few minutes by car from the camp site. This bog covering 159 hectares forms part of the Sandringham Royal Estate and is managed by English Nature. A mixed habitat of dry and wet lowland heath, acid mire plus deciduous and coniferous woodland. The mire lies on shallow peat, bordered on one side by a steep escarpment containing large areas of dry heath and woodland and it marks the edge of the ancient coastline. Specialised plants include bog asphodel, round-leaved sundew, cranberry and white-beaked sedge. It is also an important site for breeding Shelduck, Woodlark, Tree Pipit and the Nightjar, a migrant visitor plus the Black Darter Dragonfly.
A distant view of Shelduck that breed on the bog.
Bird sightings were thin on the ground but included Linnet (see photo above), Tree Pipit, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Skylark, Swift, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Willow Warblers, Blackcap, Goldfinch, Carrion Crow and Green Woodpecker BUT no sign of any Woodlarks.
A surprise find was this small pond hidden by trees and shrubbery with rhodos in full bloom where I watched various 'Damsels' including this Large Red plus a basking Common Lizard on the boardwalk.
Whilst the weather conditions were not ideal...strong cold easterly winds and a damp overcast sky.....I did manage to find a female Four-spotted Chaser who eventually rested briefly for a photo-call. A late evening visit to hear and see Nightjars is a must if you are in the vicinity but I didn't have to go that far for my treat....more of that in a future post.......FAB.