Monday, August 05, 2013

Norfolk Away-day

An opportunity to borrow the Trust's minibus on Monday and a trip to RSPB Titchwell and NWT Cley on the north Norfolk coast, along with 16 of the Brandon volunteers. Despite the poor forecast the team enjoyed an almost perfect day with glorious sunshine and only one short shower encountered.

Little Gull - One of several around the reserve.
First stop was RSPB Titchwell arriving around 10am and as we made our way along the West Bank Path the first species of note was Little Gull, followed by 3 Marsh Harrier and Little Egret across on the wet meadow. With waders now on the move the freshwater marsh was literally teaming and here good numbers of Avocet, along with various counts of Golden Plover, Red Knot, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover, Ruff and Oystercatcher. A single Spoonbill flew in at the top end of the pool and a search along the reed bed perimeter yielded Green and Wood Sandpiper feeding on the mud.

A stop off at the Parrinder Hide for coffee gave an opportunity to have a good scan locating Snipe, Curlew Sandpiper, Little-ringed Plover and several Spotted Redshank, with a few birds still looking stunning in summer plumage. As we left and made our way down towards the beach a single Whimbrel flew across the wet meadow and just prior to arriving at the sea shore a brief view of Stonechat, before the now strong breeze sent it on its way.

Wall Brown
The sea watch was a real treat with good views of Sandwich Terns diving for fish, along with a small passage of Little Tern. The shore produced of note: Sanderling, Common Tern, Bar-tailed Godwit and a lone Grey Plover, which was still showing signs of summer plumage and was probably one of the first early migrant adults. Further out to sea Gannet and Common Scoter! Also of note on route back to the centre was a Wall Brown butterfly, which thankfully posed just long enough for a photo.

A brief stop at Cholsey Barns failed to yield our target birds, Turtle Dove and Corn Bunting, but a Grey Partridge, sadly missed by me, and Yellow Wagtail were worth the stop.

We arrived at Cley Marsh mid afternoon and several of us took the walk along the east bank past Arnold's Marsh, where 2 more Spoonbill were easily identifiable among a large flock of Cormorant. The walk along the shingle north produced Skylark, Sandwich Tern, Yellow Wagtail, Meadow Pipit and a single Grey Seal. We took shelter for a while during the one and only shower of the day in the hide overlooking the north scrape. Here Wood Sandpiper, Little Gull, Whimbrel, Yellow Wagtail, Shelduck, lots more Dunlin and distant views of young and adult Bearded Tit.

The migratory Painted Lady!
Finally the walk back to the nature centre had Hobby, several Sand Martin, 4 Marsh Harrier and a good passage of Swift. Running short on time the briefest of visits to Pat's Pool produced  of note: single Wigeon and one of my highlights of the day, at least 3 Painted Lady butterflies, one of which posed nicely for a photograph and ended an excellent day out!