There is a distinctive atmosphere about Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve: an almost reverential hush punctuated by the evocative call of the curlew. There is even, with the isolated exception, an absence of mobile phones! Voices are mezzo piano rather than forte. Movements are unrushed and controlled to avoid disruption or distraction. There is a tacit acknowledgement that we are in the birds’ domain and it is a privilege to be admitted.
Regrettably, the quality of the photos is not good. They were taken on a grey day with a handheld compact camera and most of the birds were at least 100 yards away. But I hope they convey something of the sense of place.
The exposure of these tree stumps at low tide in the Thornham Saltmarshes seems, in some way, symbolic of the amazing discovery in 1998 at neighbouring Holme-next-the-Sea. This coastal strtch is susceptible to strong currents, tidal surges and shifting sands. A combination of these factors led, in November 1998, to the discovery of a previously submerged ‘tree circle’ a henge similar in its formation to Stonehenge. It was clearly of Bronze Age origin, and experts were subsequently able to confidently date its construction to 2049BC. The circle comprised 56 posts and at its centre was the upturned root of an oak tree.
A BBC news item on the ‘find’ is available on http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/388988.stm.