Last month’s floods in Norfolk were an extraordinary and mixed affair for the local community. My daughter and her partner, at their home just downstream, were so worried they began moving furniture upstairs, just as I was celebrating the conversion of Claxton’s usually bone-dry fields into short-lived lakes smothered in birds. I estimated at least 12,000 birds one evening.
It is fascinating to see how the wildfowl, waders and gulls readly adapt to these new circumstances without a pause. What struck me by day was the placid complacency of the flocks upon the pools. At night the atmosphere was a little less assured, and the air was filled with the anxiety-inducing cries of feeding lapwings. Yet it also felt wonderfully serene under the stars – you can see The Plough clearly in the picture – and one of the most beautiful moments at Claxton that I have witnessed this year. It was also the subject of my first Guardian country diary of 2021. Happy New Year everyone.