Monday, 28 November 2016

Nov 28th Titchwell

The sun was blindingly bright in the sky today as we made another visit to Titchwell. Though it is technically winter, it was a surprisingly warm day for this time of year. It was so nice that Mum and I did two walks today. First, we had a short walk along the East Trail in the search of a water pipit. Unfortunately, there wasn't any sign of any water pipit, but there were meadow pipits, tufted ducks, gadwall, hundreds of brent geese, a stonechat and something that looked like a bittern or a harrier flying over the reeds which I couldn't identify quickly enough before vanishing down into cover.

Tufted Duck
After lunch with the robins and blackbirds outside the café, it was time for our second walk, this time heading towards the beach. The trees in the wooded area at the start of our walk had many birdwatchers glued to their binoculars as they studied every branch which had a bird on it. A mixed flock of siskins and goldfinches were busy feeding from the cones of alder trees and apparently there was a redpoll amongst them, but I was unable to locate it.


While continuing our walk, I believe I saw another bittern flying over the reed beds before disappearing behind a small row of trees. It looked like a female which is smaller than male bitterns, however, it seemed as if I was the only one who saw it as none of the other birdwatchers passing by (and Mum) did not comment about it or were looking in the same direction. At least the marsh sitting on a bush in the distance behind where the bittern flew past was much easier to show Mum.

Brent Geese
From Island Hide, the first pool's water level was rather high and full of brent geese, gulls and shelducks with teal, mallards and greylags along edges of the reed bed borders. The brent geese in particular were in great numbers and in great voice with their consistent barking calls being heard from all over the reserve. They were also always on edge, taking off from the pool together, circling around the reserve every now and then before splashing back down again.
Herring Gulls
Black-headed Gulls
Little Egret
The second pool was much more sparse in comparison and it was more mud than water, perfect for hungry waders such as redshanks, curlews and dunlins. The third pool was similar to the first, but the cast was much different. Here, there were plenty more waders, including a small resting group of avocets, a hungry little grebe, a little egret and (on the way back) a water rail, which dashed to cover just as I was about to take its photo.

Little Grebe
Grey Plover
Black-tailed Godwit

Sea Watchers
Finally, after being constantly distracted by great wildlife, we had managed to tear ourselves away to reach the flat landscape of the beach. The tide was a long way out, but was starting to make its way in. Stretched out along the edge of the incoming tide was a great row of sea watchers with their scopes and cameras pointing out beyond the waves. There was plenty to see. A huge trawler was trawling close to the shore, attracting possibly thousands of gulls following behind it, while various species of sea bird were flying across the sea in every direction. A raft of long-tailed ducks could be seen now and then behind the rise and fall of each wave, motoring along at a surprising speed of knots.
Trawler and gulls
Long-tailed Ducks

Bar-tailed Godwits
Meanwhile, close to the shore line (and us watching), a large gathering of sanderling, bar-tailed godwits, oystercatchers, turnstones and other species of wader and gull were making the most of the exposed mud and seaweed before the tide swallowed it up completely. I don't think I've ever had this much fun sea watching before! There were just birds everywhere and many of them were just a couple of yards from my feet. A great end to an enjoyable day which ended with a glorious sunset.

Waders on the move!
Common Gull

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