Sunday 29 July 2012

Norfolk for Horseflies

There are some flies with serious anger management issues present on the Norfolk coast. I first noticed a funny-looking fly on my forearm as I walked down the track at Titchwell after I actually felt it bite me. This is not a mossie, where you don't notice until it's too late. This thing actually cuts into you. Saws. You feel it but it's too late by then.

Carrying a sensible amount of kit

My horsefly bites number four, and are an angry shade of pink, hot to the touch. One managed to bite me through my T-shirt just above my right nipple. If this thought appals you, spare a thought for me - it is bright pink and swollen. My chest is proud enough at the best of times, this is the icing on the cake. Last night it wasn't so bad, but this morning it had doubled in size. When you press the flesh it feels hard to the touch, very strange, like the whole thing is about to explode disgustingly. It is a long way from my former comforting podge, and for a fly only a centimetre long, it's pretty impressive. I've also got a bite on my right shoulder, my left elbow, and my right wrist - this one is pretty good, as my entire forearm is slightly pink and tingly, and it hurts to type. I thought about illustrating this blog post - lavishly - but after looking at my first attempt with my phone and the bathroom mirror I nearly fainted, and you would stand no chance. No, you will just have to imagine it for yourselves. The first bites are beginning to weep a clear yellow substance if that helps. Lovely.

I've felt quite unable to go out today, a combination of wanting to scratch myself like a chimpanzee every two seconds, and a series of aches and pains brought on by attempting to carry a crazy amount of camera gear yesterday. I won't be doing that again in a hurry. I added it up for this blog post - 19.3kg. Big mistake. There is no getting away from the weight of a large telephoto lens, but did I really need three other lenses and another camera? No, as I didn't use them once. I also didn't use the large heavy coat that was going to protect me from the mud and sand. What with also carrying a tripod and scope, it was all rather stupid, and I am paying the price today.


The photos were worth it though, even if all I got were Sanderling. I blame Hawky for dressing up as as huge bumblebee -see above. Basically the minute he set foot on the beach - buzzing loudly - all the waders got up and fled, en masse, for the safety of Lincolnshire. Turnstones, Knot, Barwits, Curlews, Oystercatchers and Dunlin all legged it, leaving only a handful of bemused Sanderling hoping to remain unnoticed by the enormous bee of death.

Knowing I had a huge amount of crap with me, the boys decided the only thing was to walk to the far end of Thornham point in search of the vanished waders, and then to try Snettisham when that failed. Even though I took less on that walk, the damage was done. I've said it before and I'll say it again, you can't be a birder and a photographer at the same time. It's one or the other, not both. Camera or scope basically, a tough choice.

Although the wader photography didn't work out quite as planned, there were plenty of birds about. Eider on the sea, Spoonbills and a moulting Curlew Sand on the reserve. Garganey put in an appearance, as did a juv Cuckoo and a handful of Yellow Wagtails. Lovely to be out in the sunshine at long last, but a real shame that I got eaten alive as it's put a real dampner on the rest of the weekend. On the plus side I have a number of "keepers", as they say, which can be found in the waders section of

Given that lugged the camera all the way out to Snettisham pits and back, I had to use it.

1 comment:

  1. Nice photos, as always. Hope your attacker wasn't a bot fly (DO NOT GOOGLE).