Sunday, November 25, 2012

Norfolk Sunday

Spotted Redshank at Titchwell!
Overnight Saturday we were battered by gale force winds and even more heavy rain, in fact it was so bad when we woke we even abandoned our early morning walk, a very rare event!

Biting the bullet after breakfast we donned our lead boots and set off for RSPB Titchwell. It always seems to be blowing a gale when I visit Titchwell so you'd think I'd be used to it by now. By the time we arrived around midday thankfully the rain had moved on leaving a bright and breezy day.

Record shot ♀Brambling
The feeders at Titchwell are always a good place to start and yes there among the usual Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Greenfinch was my first Brambling of this autumn, a very pristine looking female. As you would imagine we were nearly blown off the West Bank Path but actually managed several Snipe and Black-tailed Godwit on the wet meadow and Meadow Pipit, Skylark and Linnet before taking refuge in the Island Hide for a brief respite. Here it was plain to see the impact of the recent deluge with very little mud showing close up for waders. A scan of the water produced ♂Goldeneye, Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, ♀Red-crested Pochard and decent numbers of Brent and Pink-footed Geese.

Brent Geese In Off The Sea!
We continued on to the beach area for a scan offshore deciding to visit the Parrinder Hides on the return journey. When we arrived the bench area provided another welcome shelter from the wind and we settled down for a half hour stint. Offshore we were rewarded with 3 Long-tailed Duck, Slavonian Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser and ♂Goldeneye, the shore area held Turnstone, Sanderling and Redshank. However, the best was when a Merlin flew low from right to left quite close in, settling on a piece of drift wood for a short while before heading off, magic!

By the time we began our walk back towards the centre the wind had dropped a good bit and in fact the rest of the afternoon was quite pleasant with clear blue skies. A Bar-tailed Godwit and Spotted Redshank quite close in on the Tidal Pool provided a good photo opportunity, along with a very obliging Little Egret, I've never seen one so tame!

White Greylag!
A visit to the Parrinder Hides enabled us to get a little closer to what was showing of the mud on the freshwater marsh and here at least 100 or so Oystercatcher were huddled up for the day. Curlew, Avocet, and good numbers of Golden Plover were also seen. At one point a large flock of Greylag arrived and within a white hybrid, conjuring up thoughts of Snow Goose but sadly not!

As we walked back to the centre in the fading light 2 Marsh Harrier on the wet meadow, along with what looked like a second or the same earlier Merlin, which briefly had a pop at the Harriers before making off. Barn Owl at Holkham on the way home ended a very enjoyable if not blustery day.