|Winter sunshine (Ann Greenizan).|
A little further along, Ann was alert to some yellow brain fungi; this parasitic and distinctive species is always nice to see. By it were pale globules of crystal brain fungi, too.
|Yellow brain fungus.|
|Crystal brain fungus.|
In the sunshine, we noted the hint of purple on alder catkins. In Whitlingham Lane car park, the big rosettes of hoary mullein were paler than ever covered by frost. Then a bank we scanned had hundreds of emerging snowdrops in bud.
|A frosty hoary mullein rosette: it's a flower that is special to East Anglia so features in Norfolk's Wonderful 150.|
Up the slope in the woods we paused to look at a large clump of spurge laurel, a daphne, with flower buds. Then we found some flowering red campion, in that case hanging on from the mild autumn rather than early-season blooms, and many male and hart’s-tongue ferns. Birds were what you might expect: mostly tits and robins, the trill of a wren.
|In the repair shop today ... a millennium sculpture.|
A short way along our clockwise circuit of the broad, two men had just started work to renovate a sculpture installed to mark the millennium, in connection with the cycle network.
We shared the path with walkers, joggers, families and all sorts, but that doesn’t seem to trouble the birds here. A Cetti’s warbler sang. Tufted ducks were the commonest ducks on the broad, gadwall the second commonest. Farther round we also saw teals and drake pochards, though failed to find the goldeneyes that another birdwatcher mentioned.
|Siskins, if you look carefully.|
Siskins were calling and were still enough in a tall alder to see splashes of yellow on them through the telescope. Then we overlooked Thorpe Marshes and headed back towards the car park. There were many cormorants and a heron though the best bird was the shag again, back on the pontoon. At first it was perching on one leg, before confirming it had two legs as it dashed to see off a cormorant that swam close to the pontoon.
|Shag - same bird, different views.|
The sun was still shining as we finished our visit to Whitlingham with coffee and scones at the barn café.