Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Sep 15th RSPB Titchwell

One bird name was standing out from all the rest written on the sightings board at Titchwell today. Written proudly and much larger than the other bird names was... OSPREY!! There has been an osprey here for three days and it was here again today. I was told it has a favourite telegraph pole out on the salt marsh, in which it sits and eats its fish lunch and I was told that it was there now, visible from just beyond the visitor centre. We found the perch and guess what? It was not there!

Curlew Sandpiper and Ringed Plover
Mum and I left the hopeful osprey watchers to it and went inside Island Hide. The pools outside the hide have dried up and were mostly stretches of mud, perfect for waders. Most of what we can see were large flocks of dunlin, which apparently had the odd little stint amongst them. We watched a curlew sandpiper feeding alongside a ringed plover. If you recall, I had seen a curlew sandpiper back in May at Cley. This was an adult bird heading north to its breeding site near the Arctic Circle. The individual here today was a juvenile heading south. Despite it being a young bird, it still was lovely to look in its peachy-buff plumage and its streaky markings. We also spot a kestrel hovering at the back of the pools.

Curlew Sandpiper
Ringed Plover
Dodging a short drizzly spell of rain, we thought it was about time to leave the hide and check up on the osprey post. We took a look at the post and there appeared to be something perched on top of it like a fairy sitting on top of a Christmas tree. The osprey had returned! It was feasting on a large fish, tearing it apart with its hooked bill. This fish will give the osprey vital energy to prepare itself for the journey to Africa. These brown and white fish-eating birds of prey only past through Norfolk and have yet to breed here. This bird may have travelled here from Rutland or from Scotland or even from Scandinavia and still has a long way yet to go. I am hoping that this osprey will pop over to Strumpshaw before it leaves Norfolk.

Chinese Water Deer
On the way to the beach, I spot a Chinese water deer just behind the bank bordering our path. It looked like it has been the wars with injuries such as torn ears and a bad eye. This is common to see as Chinese water deer are very territorial and use their tusks as weapons. Further up, feeding in the mud of the other pools, various other waders such as avocets, redshanks, black-tailed godwits, grey plovers and more dunlin and ringed plovers were on display close to the path. A crowd of birdwatchers were watching something at the end of one of these pools. We were curious and we asked what they were looking at. A whimbrel was hiding in a section of tall grass and kept popping out now and then. Whimbrels are like curlews with shorter curved bills and are migratory birds here from spring to autumn. This one seemed a bit shy and stayed close to the grass edge. Mum was struggling to locate it at first, but eventually got to see it and seemed to enjoy it as much as the osprey.

Grey Plover
Black-tailed Godwit
Grey Plover
The shoreline of the beach was covered in even more waders like oystercatchers, godwits, curlews, gulls, redshanks, grey plovers and dunlin feeding by the surf line. Terns were flying by over the waves close to the shore, calling as they went by. We could have stayed longer, but an unpromising cloud was looming closer and a heavy drizzle started to sweep over us. The osprey was still on its post, looking a bit wet as we made our way back to the visitor centre. We also spot a water rail patrolling the edge of its reedbed for food in the mud, undetered by the rain. It was a bit of a damp way to end a great day, but thankfully it wasn't to last. At least it wasn't as bad as our last visit to Titchwell last month.
Godwits (possibly Bar-tailed Godwits)
Grey Plover and Oystercatcher

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