With local birds a bit skulky and the Summer Holidays here it was time for a day trip to the North Norfolk Coast. RSPB Titchwell is a great place to visit at any time of year and has the bonus of a few waders still in their summer best as opposed to their drab winter browns and greys. My target bird for the day a spotted redshank was present on the freshmarsh with just short of a dozen of his mates but very hidden in the furthest least accessible part of the marsh. Allegedly there were a couple of greenshank alongside them but the view through a mesh fence was not going to allow me to confirm this.
Birding for the day had been promising before I arrived at Titchwell, with great views of a Red Kite low over Brancaster and on arrival at the visitors centre another had been seen over the reserve the day before. Birds around the car park were skulking and the only birds calling were goldfinches, woodpigeons and robins. Initial birds along the first footpath weren’t much better with few reed warblers making dashing trips over the reeds and little else. The first stretch of open water produced several ducks in various stages of eclipse plumage but included a smart pair of pochard as well as the local speciality exotic the Red-crested pochard.
Smart drake Pochard which I can’t help thinking has more than a hint of evil about it with those red eyes and alas is still to be recorded in the Birds of Hethersett
Female Red-crested Pochard an introduced exotic species which seems to thrive locally at Titchwell and is only absent when I am trying to find it on a bird race.
Following the pochards came other brown eclipse ducks including mallard, gadwall and teal. More duck action out on the mud with a number of young shelduck. More interestingly out on the mud near the reed beds by the Island hide were a number of young bearded tits feeding on fallen seeds. The youngsters are missing the colour of their parents if not the character.
Who’s looking at you? young bearded tit.
Out on the freshmarsh the birds were amazing thanks in part to a high tide which had brought them all in for a siesta. The most active waders were the avocet and ruff which were joined by lapwings and feeding dunlin. Quietly sleeping were a number of waders which had handily settled in size order. The largest and most prolific were the black-tailed godwits in a variety of plumages next were oystercatchers in their pied finery followed by a few knot some in their red summer plumage and then a few turnstones also in summer plumage and last and most mobile about 70 dunlin and despite a bit of scanning no sign of their rare and recently seen cousin the curlew sandpiper.
Knot the prettiest wader of the day but still special in her own way a ruff.
Whilst the fresh marsh didn’t yield an earlier seen yellow wagtail it was full of its pied wagtail cousins. Other birds of note were a number of spoonbills, a couple of little egrets and a flock of canada geese. As noted on the highlights black board the Parrinder hide also played host to a number of linnets bathing in the waters edge. Their enthusiastic splashing was difficult not to fall in love with and whilst they have been few and far between locally they were showing of well within scope range if not camera range.
Another inconspicuous beauty a female Linnet
A trip to the beach produced little more than sandcastles as the tide was in, although there were flocks of swallows along with common terns and sandwich terns some of whom were actually fishing, unlike most which sunbathed on the freshwater islands. The absolute highlight of the day was however waiting back in the furthest car park. Comfortably the rarest and most endangered bird of the day was purring away in a large tree sitting openly on dead branches for a clear view.
Turtle Dove a bird which is likely to become extinct in the UK in the next 20 years due to a variety of factors affecting the bird which migrates to us each year from west Africa and which nested last year in nearby Marlingford but unfortunately not this year . For an extra special capture at Titchwell which shows the size of the dove compared with the woodpigeon which is going in the opposite direction population wise. click (HERE)
Last place in my sightings of the day with Id courtesy of The Butterfly Conservation website is another migrant from Africa and was hanging out down by the beach trying not to be eaten by the swallow family
Painted lady another exotic traveller although not at risk of extinction.