Monday, 18 January 2016

Jan 18th Thornham Harbour and RSPB Titchwell

Despite being slightly tired thanks to that noisy fox last night, I went to do some birdwatching with my mum in north Norfolk. Along the way, we had a red kite fly over us as we were driving through the Norfolk countryside. It was a brief encounter, but within the few seconds that we had of it, I could see the forked tail very clearly.

Before we made our way for Titchwell, I had a detour for a target in mind at Thornham Harbour. There is a flock of twite here and I have never seen them before. Twite are small streaky brown finches with yellow bills and a flash of pink on the rump. Normally, you would need to go to the Hebrides to see twite as that is the only part of the UK that they breed. Thankfully, a flock from Europe regularly turns up to this part of Norfolk most winters, saving me the long trip to Scotland to see them.

I made a quick walk on the embankment along the harbour and I could hear them twittering 'twiiite twiiite' before I could see them. Then when I was locating them, they caught me by surprise. They weren't in the surrounding fields and saltmarshes as I presumed, but were in fact on the bank of the path I was on. At one point, they even came onto the path to drink from a puddle very briefly. They were very tricky to photograph as their plumage made them camouflaged in the dried grass and were very flighty, moving constantly. But they were worth having frozen hands for while holding my camera. They are birds full of character and a delight to watch. I also had great close views of a curlew and two stonechats.

We had a spot of lunch at Titchwell before going for a walk on the reserve. While eating our bacon rolls, we watched the feeders. The birds around this area are very tame and will come really close to you, especially the robins. We saw goldfinches, greenfinches, chaffinches, blue, great, coal and long-tailed tits feed from the feeders with woodpigeons, moorhens, pheasants, dunnocks, blackbirds and a wren feeding from what they dropped onto the ground below. I didn't see the lesser redpoll that has apparently being drawn to them, but I did see a brambling. This is a Scandinavian finch which is like an orange chaffinch that visits the UK during the winter. Another great bird for today.

Face to face with a Robin!
The modern way to reedbed management!
On the reserve, we saw; avocets, dunlin, redshanks, ringed plover, grey plover, lapwings, curlews, oystercatchers, a few black-tailed godwits, shelducks, teal, wigeon, a pintail, shoveler, mallards, 4 male red-breasted mergansers (which I saw on the sea to begin with, but then flew to one of the pools on the reserve before vanishing out of sight completely), brent geese, greylag geese, little egrets, a heron, a water rail and a little grebe. As you can tell, I have seen a lot on this rather chilly day. It was a good day, but we were glad to return to the warmth of the car as we made our way home.

Grey Plover
Grey Heron
Ringed Plover
Two male Red-breasted Mergansers


  1. Fantastic to get so close Twite and Brambling, would love to see either, it's been too long.

  2. Hi Sean I absolutely love your picture of the Stonechats (the one with a male and female) looks like they've had a lovers tiff! Looking forward to your how to draw a fox :)