Thursday, October 04, 2012

Away Day Part 1

Black-tailed Godwit - RSPB Titchwell
Having not been to the Norfolk coast since as far back as January it was time for another away day and so myself, Pete, Alan and Derek from the Brandon Team headed off at first light on Wednesday.

Our first stop was RSPB Titchwell, arriving at around 9.30am and an opportunity to walk the new Autumn Trail recently opened to the public. The trail, which runs along the far eastern side of the reserve, will only be available between August 1st and October 31st so that the regular roost of Marsh Harriers which is nearby is not disturbed during the winter and breeding times are not interrupted.

The walk offers some great panoramic views across the current reed bed and new areas and our first notables of the day as we approached the first screen were a flock of around 30 or so Golden Plover, a Bittern in flight out towards the salt marshes and at least a half dozen Little Grebe seen from the screen.

Wigeon & Spotted Redshank
There are in fact a number of screens to stop and take stock and I have to say that our walk, although a little blustery, was really enjoyable. As we approached the final screen our first Marsh Harrier and flocks of Brent Geese and Greylag, along with a lone Barnacle and 3 Egyptian were noted coming in. The screen also offers alternate views of the freshwater marsh and being close up to the reed bed we were able to pick out a couple of Bearded Tit, difficult in the windy conditions. No less than 11 Spoonbill were on the fresh marsh today and a good selection of waders to boost our numbers which included: Ruff, Dunlin, Knot, Spotted Redshank, Avocet, Lapwing and Greenshank.

The walk down to the beach along the West Bank Path produced some photographic Black-tailed Godwits (above), Little Egrets and a short session in the Island Hide had more waders with Ringed Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Curlew, and lone Little Stint. Various numbers of Wigeon, Teal, Shelduck and Pintail were also noted.

Nosey Wheatear - Gorgeous!
A short sea watch had distant Gannet, several Great-crested Grebe, a single Common Scoter and a brief glimpse of Diver, unfortunately not relocated. From my vantage point on the old brick structure more waders on the shore with Sanderling. Redshank, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Turnstone, Bar-tailed Godwit and watching me watching them not 5 feet away a gorgeous Wheatear, which I managed to get on camera!

At this point our official recorder for the day Mr Pete Worthy suddenly discovered he'd lost his note book, records enclosed. Fortunately I'm glad to report that book and recorder were re-united shortly after when said book was discovered still in the Island Hide where he'd left it, panic over! During the walk back to the car park a second Bittern, Marsh Harrier and Water Rail.

From Titchwell an hour spent at Wells Wood Dell in search of Yellow-browed Warbler but more on that in part 2!