Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Titchwell to Frampton

A welcome day off the patch with Trevor Griffiths from the Brandon team and after an early start and stop off for breakfast we arrived at RSPB Titchwell in Norfolk just after 9am.

Highly cropped photo of Barn Owl
Our first stop was over at the viewing screens at the end of the east trail, which unfortunately had been closed off beyond here for ongoing work. Our first notable of the day was a Barn Owl sitting in the bright sunshine on the opposite viewing screen and as we panned across left a Cuckoo was also enjoying the morning sun. Trevor insisted on using my canon SX50's full digital zoom on both birds, the results of which can be seen above and below, they were pretty far off but a great start to the day. Before moving on some excellent displays from a family party of Marsh Harriers, including quite an impressive food pass.

Another distant view, this time a Cuckoo
I'd never witnessed Titchwell looking quite this way, a high tide of over 7 meters had pushed water right through, covering large parts of the grassland meadow and the tide line was right up to the sand dunes. At least ten Spoonbill on the freshwater marsh and a selection of waders which included: Redshank, Oystercatcher, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Little-ringed Plover, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Avocet and Spotted Redshank, with some still in almost summer plumage. Offshore a constant passage of Sandwich Terns, with one or two Little Terns and Common Terns seen and on the water small pockets of Common Scoter. Other species of note included: Skylark, Linnet, Meadow Pipit and Stoat.

Not the most pristine Painted Lady but my 1st of the year nevertheless
Numerous butterflies on the wing at both reserves with a selection of species seen, plus excellent numbers of Small and Large Skippers, highlights, Grayling & Painted Lady. Sadly no sign of any Scarce Tortoiseshell among the numbers, although several have been spotted along the Norfolk coast.

Glossy Ibis - One of a trio of excellent birds
After lunch we headed off to RSPB Frampton Marsh in search of a trio of species and hit lucky on arrival with the first on our list, Turtle Dove, when one was perched nicely on the phone wires. After parking we headed off towards the sea-bank and as we approached the path which leads down to the 360 Hide our second of the trio, Glossy Ibis was feeding out towards the Island. We hadn't even reached the sea-bank when the final of the trio Lesser Yellowlegs was located feeding, but sadly way too far for a decent photo.

Several Hare were seen at RSPB Frampton
At the sea-bank a couple of summer plumage Grey Plover overhead and the photographed Painted Lady. A visit to the hides had similar waders on offer to Titchwell but a nice looking Hare was very obliging and as we walked along the track away from the 360 Hide a Water Vole scurried across the path!

Yellowhammer - Another addition to the day list
The remainder of our visit added Bar-tailed Godwit, Yellow Wagtail, Yellowhammer and Snipe and a walk along the public footpath just beyond the car park before heading off located two more Turtle Dove, probably juvenile, perched on the barn roof across the grass meadow. A great end to a great day out!