Catton Park Walk

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last visited Catton Park. So today I went along to see what’s changed and decided to do an audio diary rather than the usual write up.

I hope you enjoy walking with me! 

A few pictures from today’s walk.

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Sparham Pools, Norfolk

Sparham Pools

Sparham Pools

I missed the car park and pulled up in the lay-by just before the bridge over the River Wensum. The water was flowing fast and looked cold. I walked the few yards back along Lyng Road to where I should have pulled in and began exploring the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Sparham Pools.

Evidence of the gravel works that once took place here are long gone and all that is left is a series of flooded pits and an abundance of wildlife.

In the distance I can hear Canada geese calling and a chorus of Great Tits. But there’s so much more to see and hear – and record.

I stopped on the path that runs straight ahead from the car park – the car park I’d missed as the entrance looks more like a public footpath. In a field near by I could see a tractor zig-zagging its way across the field and beyond that the sound of cattle and occasional gunfire – hunting or bird scarers I know not which.

According to Wikipedia Lyng has a Motocross track which holds the annual British Motocross Championship. I’m thankful it’s not today and immerse myself in the birdsong and the water sports of the Canada geese.

It’s a perfect day for recording. Little in the way of wind, plenty in the way of activity. I pop the Binaural microphones into my ears and stand and listened the the tractor, the cattle, passing joggers and cyclists.

On the water the Canada geese were loud and frisky. Honks and growls and plenty of splashing about.

At the far end of the big pool I stopped and listen to a bird call I don’t recognise. Its tune is beautiful – even above the noisy geese! Can anyone identify it for me? I couldn’t see it sadly.


Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 15.10.56

Thanks to Nick Acheson who confirmed that the main birdsong was a Mistle Thrush – and added a few more too! Also thanks to @Spinkybird who also identified it as a Mistle Thrush.

On the way back to the car I stopped to listen to a Robin as he sang to me. Suddenly he was joined by two others and rather than harmonise they fight, tumbling through the trees before two dart away and the victor finds the highest branch to sing of his valiant victory.

Not the best of days for taking pictures, but hopefully you get a feel of the place.

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Foxley Wood, Norfolk

Norfolk Wildlife Trust

Norfolk Wildlife Trust

It’s fair to say that the majority of my adventures out with my recording equipment tend to focus on the coastline of Norfolk. But for me I feel more at home in woodland and forests.

My plan for today was to explore two special places in Norfolk; Thursford Wood and Foxley Wood. My Satnav failed miserably at Thursford and I couldn’t get a signal to get online to check directions. So I had to settle for Foxley and what a joy it was.

Foxley Wood is Norfolk’s largest remaining ancient woodland and at this time of year you can clearly see the hard work that is being done by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust to preserve this wonderful place.

In a few weeks time the ground will be carpeted with Bluebells and, no doubt, the car parks will be full. But for today, I pretty much had the place to myself. And the birds.

One of nice things about Foxley Wood is that there are plenty of benches to sit on dotted around the walk and going by the dedications, it’s obviously been a place much loved by many.

It was good to see it at this time of year and will definitely be a place to revisit as the seasons change.

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To the coast!

A new month and the first chance this year for a visit to the Norfolk Coast.

It is without doubt one of the most visually stunning coastlines of the UK. Travel just a couple of miles along it and the cliffs, beaches and sea change so drastically.

Today I headed for Happisburgh. The weather forecast was for strong winds and wintery showers. Spot on. It even managed a little sunshine too. But without doubt the wind was the star of the show.

Take a listen to me being blown around!

The cliff top path was rather treacherous while I was there. There’s been a fair amount of rain in the past couple of weeks which made it slippery under foot and the ground near the edge was very soft with evidence of recent crumbling onto the beach below.

Sensibly most of those brave enough to be out stuck to the beach, which wasn’t without it’s own hazards with the sea so rough. The waves crashed in stirring up a good amount of spume that was then blown on the wind. On one occasion I was too busy taking photographs to notice a wave of froth cover my feet.

Cold, wet and wind lashed, that was me. And I loved every second of it.

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Great Spot!

Late morning in Catton Park and the trees are alive with squirrels and birds. A pair of Blue Tits roll around in mid-air as they tumble towards a branch.

A man with a dog and an impressive looking camera is approaching. It’s him. The one I see almost every week by the pond taking photographs. We stop and chat a while about the birds in the Park. “Mainly Blue and Great Tits, but there are some Goldcrests and Treecreepers. Occasionally you may get a Buzzard flying over,” he tells me before we discuss the lack of Woodpeckers. “Not see one for over three weeks now. Don’t know where they’ve all gone.” We nod and go about our business.

Round by the pond, where my new friend has just been and put some food out for the birds, someone else is there photographing the feast’s devourers. I leave him to it.

A little later the second photographer calls to me in the woods. “There’s plenty of activity round by the pond. There’s some food there.” We chat about the birds we’ve seen and the lack of Woodpeckers. We nod and go about our business.

Great Spotted Woodpecker - the only shot I got

Great Spotted Woodpecker – the only shot I got

A short time later on the other side of the Park I spot a squirrel running up a tree, past a Great Spotted Woodpecker. In my joy and excitement I fail in a truly spectacular way to either press the right button on my recorder or take a decent photograph. My two new friends have long left the Park so I can’t share with them the news that the Woodpeckers are still around.

I look up at the bright red plumage as a dog comes thundering towards me. The bird nods and takes flight while I go about my business of quietly cursing free running dogs in woodland area of the Park.


Once a month I’m going to capture the sound of the Park so I can compare it over the year. Here’s January’s and below that this week’s picture gallery.

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