Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Norfolk Visit

Took an early morning drive across to the Norfolk coast on Wednesday starting off at RSPB Snettisham for the morning high tide. Absolutely stunning sights with Knot, Godwits, Plovers and Oystercatcher blackening the skies. It was nice to see several families with young kids set up picnic style to witness the amazing waderfest!

Bar-headed Goose - An increase in the UK feral population apparently!
Other highlights included Mediterranean Gull, Fulmar and watching two Arctic Skuas at reasonable distance harassing a couple of Common Terns, the later of which managing to escape with their food still in tact. The surprise of the visit was my first UK encounter with a Bar-headed Goose, a bird which seems to be increasing in feral population, apparently even managing to breed in the Manchester area!

RSPB Titchwell next and firstly a walk around to Patsy's Reedbed, managing a couple of Red-crested Pochard and some brief views of Bearded Tit. Unfortunately the Red-backed Shrike reported in this area the day before seemed to have departed. We also managed 17 Spoonbill from the end of the track looking back across the freshwater marsh and a couple of Marsh Harrier.

Wheatear at Snettisham - Not the most prolific day on the camera!
A better look at the Freshwater and Tidal Marsh's from the West Bank Path produced the usual selection of waders, including Black-tailed GodwitSnipe,  Little EgretAvocet, Curlew, Ringed Plover, many Ruff, (3) Greenshank and both Golden and Grey Plover still sporting most of their summer plumage. Unfortunately a huge exodus, including Heron's and Spoonbills by an unknown culprit put paid to any chance of Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper, a couple of target birds for the visit. The beach produced Peregrine and incredibly another two Arctic Skuas but little else in the way of passage birds. On the shore Turnstone, more Grey Plover, Sanderling and a lone Bar-tailed Godwit.

A quick visit to the Cley beach area before heading off was a little more lucrative with a dozen or so Sandwich Terns, single Little Tern, (4) Common Terns and (8) Gannet, including several juvenile!