Monday, October 10, 2016

Final 2016 Away-Day ~ Norfolk

The final Away-Day of the year for the Brandon Marsh team and with a blocking high pressure system still firmly in control over Scandinavia there was no other place to go but to the east coast and Norfolk. Setting off from Brandon at 06:15 with the usual stop for breakfast we arrived at RSPB Titchwell at around 09:30. Six Red Kite on route and a heavy downpour just before reaching the reserve.

A look at the feeders opposite the cafe area produced at least two Brambling, along with Goldfinch and Chaffinch and then several of us decided to head off towards Patsy's Pool. The first Yellow-browed Warbler of three for the day was seen at the feeders to the rear of the visitors centre and several Goldcrest along the path towards the Fen Hide, plus Chiffchaff and Dunnock. A look over the fence before heading up to the screen produced Meadow Pipit, Blackcap and a Stoat, which ran across some old pallets. One or two Redwings heading overhead and a scan of the track along the rear of the east trail from the second fence produced more Brambling, Redwing and Song Thrush.

One of three Yellow-browed Warbler ~ Photo by Trevor Griffiths
I didn't personally spend too much time at the screen, keen to check out the east trail but lots here including Wigeon, Snipe and Ruff. The trail produced a Common Redstart and across the pool a couple of Ring Ouzel were feeding in the elder bushes, although I personally only saw the male, thanks to Keith Foster for making us aware. A decent size flock of Golden Plover overhead, Skylark, several Curlew and more thrushes moving through before heading back across to the west side.

Spoonbill over RSPB Titchwell ~ Photo Trevor Griffiths
We took the meadow trail across to the fresh marsh, recording two more Yellow-browed Warbler, Cetti's Warbler calling and even more Goldcrest. As we tracked along the west bank path a Marsh Harrier out across the saltmarsh and at least 7/8 Bearded Tit before a couple of Jack Snipe close in on the brackish marsh. No sign of the Pectoral Sandpiper during our stay in the Parrinder Hide but two Spoonbill were a welcome diversion and a single Curlew Sandpiper and Grey Plover in among the Dunlin, Golden Plover, Avocet and Black-tailed Godwit. A sea watch was disappointing and only produced of note juvenile and adult Gannet, several Sanderling on the beach, along with Oystercatcher and Turnstone. Several stops as we headed back to the car park during a brief shower with two flocks of Brent Geese, three Little Stint, 100+ Knot, Little Grebe and Redshank.

After Titchwell a stop at Cholsey Drying Barns and here Red-legged Partridge, Yellowhammer and at least four Grey Wagtail. The only 'twitch' of the day was for the Pallas's Warbler seen at Stiffkey along Campsite Wood. Despite our best efforts, along with several other birders we dipped on this one, although a couple of Greenshank along the wet marsh added to the day list!

Two final stops for the visit: Firstly at Cley beach, which produced Slavonian Grebe, Red-throated Diver, Guillemot and Gannet offshore and looking inland Wheatear and four late Barn Swallow. Final stop in fading light was Salthouse, only birds of note on Gramborough Hill Meadow Pipit and a brace of Stonechat. A final scan before heading off produced four Marsh Harrier as the heavens opened to end a thoroughly enjoyable day!