Friday, 27 March 2015

March 27th Blickling Hall

Blickling Hall and the lake
Blickling Hall is celebrating it's 75th years with the National Trust and I thought it would be a good place for a walk with my parents. We began at the car park on the far side of a lake. The plan is to follow the lake to the hall and walk around the outside of it and reuniting with the lake which takes us back to the car park. A reasonable lengthed loop of a walk with scenic surroundings.

There's a wood alongside the lake at our starting point and I could hear chiffchaffs, long-tailed tits, nuthatches, mistle thrushes and jackdaws singing or calling from the oaks and beeches as we made our journey to Blickling Hall. The trees (mainly the beech trees) had graffiti carved into them. Initials and love hearts were all over the barks of some of these giants. Some of the carvings were dated mostly from the 1990's but one was dated as far back as the 1960's. The trees will heal these forced scarings eventually into swellings like a scab on human skin, but it does spoil the National Trust's image a little.

Common Toads
The lake had surprisingly little bird life on it. A few mallards, the odd moorhen, Egyptian goose and black-headed gull and that was it. But there was life in this lake. We came across a jetty when I heard something. A lot of something. A familiar sound reminiscent of Vinegar Pond back at Mousehold Heath last week. A loud croaking chorus was coming from the edge of the lake. I stepped onto the jetty and saw not frogs but toads. They saw me on the jetty and the sound died down to near silence. They were more nervous of me being there than the frogs at Mousehold, but a few did stay up on the surface for a good look at them. Their warty skinned heads and slitted red eyes poked out from the water staring at me. Males were much smaller than the females but what they lacked in size they gained in eagerness to mate. Unlike frogs, toadspawn are formed in strings not clumps and are out of sight underwater against the aquatic vegetation.

We eventually came to the end of the lake and walk past the large decorative grounds of  Blickling Hall with the building itself looming behind them. We can only look at them from our side of the fence. On our side, the woods have opened up to clearings and fields scattered with ancient oaks and supporting a large flock of jackdaws. A great spotted woodpecker flew past into the wood we've left behind. We turned a corner, following the grounds round and found an embankment behind the fence on the Hall's side covered in daffodils. It was almost a feeling of being 'as lonely as a cloud' if it wasn't for the imprisonment of the fence keeping me from them. It was still quite a sight. The embankment was almost yellow all over with hundreds of trumpeted heads looking my direction like Norwich fans at Carrow Road. It may not be an endless field but it was still a good highlight of my day.

The loud series of notes of a song thrush and the sight of a treecreeper spiraling up a tree greeted us as we reached the 17th centuary building of the hall. After a short rest, the three of us concluded our walk by walking along the other half of the lake. More treecreepers, chiffchaffs, mistle thrushes and nuthatches were heard as well as a few goldcrests.
Blickling Hall

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