RSPB TITCHWELL - CHOSELEY BARNS - BRANCASTER BEACH AREA - WARHAM GREEN HARRIER ROOST
WEATHER; dry and sunny for most of the day, cloudy and light rain later. Very windy, temp 5C
It was a glorious morning spoilt only by the strong winds, we had a fabulous time at Titchwell seeing 14 different waders and lots of other species. The spectacle of seeing thousands of Geese, Lapwings and Golden Plover in the air was awesome and the waders on the beach were both wonderful and varied.
We saw 76 species today and most them were seen at Titchwell, 14 Species of waders enhanced my year list which now stands at 142. The brackish lagoons held Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits, Oystercatchers, Dunlin, Ruff and Redshank. with Gadwall, Teal, Shoveler and Wigeon. Whilst the marshes hosted Brent Geese, Pink-footed Geese and Marsh Harriers. It was fantastic to see and hear the skeins of geese flying over as well as the huge number of Lapwings and Golden Plover flying over the nearby Thornham Marsh.
looking over the marsh at Titchwell this morning
We also saw a couple of Eurasian Spoonbills (not even a 'week' tick for me), Little Egret, Curlew and Marsh Harrier on the Thornham Marsh area. All the time skeins of Geese could be seen and heard and the Lapwing flocks errupted into the sky everytime someone said 'boo'.
a pair of Eurasian Spoonbills
At the beach we spent an hour or so scanning the sea where up to 30 Red-throated Divers flew past, 3 Goldeneye sat on the water, with numerous great Crested Grebes. We also saw Fulmars, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Scoter (very distant).
The best birding for me was on the beach, the tide was ebbing and flocks of waders flew back and forth until they settled for a feeding place to their satisfaction. The numbers of Bar-tailed Godwits was surprisingly high, hundreds of them dropped in, but Red Knot numbers were low with only half a dozen in sight. Sanderlings dashed along the wind swept shoreline with Dunlin and Ringed Plover
the view of the beach at Titchwell, it was cold standing there for an hour or so
waders on the shore - Bar-tailed Godwits, Red Knot and Dunlin
Delightful Sanderling dashed along the shoreline with Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Knot, Grey Plover and Bar-tailed Godwits. On the way back to the visitor's we spent more time looking into the brackish Marsh and we sat in the very spacious Parinder Hide.
a single Ruff
We added Ruff and Black-tailed Godwit to the wader list and had better views of Avocets. The only small passerines we saw out on the marsh was Meadow Pipit and Reed Bunting.
Avocets and Lapwings
One the most memorable experiences of visiting Titchwell this morning was the hot chocolate that Guy bought us, boy was that nice and hot, creamy and delicious. There are no bird feeders around the centre now becuase of an infestation of rats, so not many birds were flitting about, but a large flock of Goldfinches frequented the Alder trees.
Ruff and Black-tailed Godwits
Before we left the area completely we drove to the Choseley Barns to look for farmland birds such as Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting. We stood behind a hegde for shelter from the strong wind and eventually we found a fly-by male Yellowhammer and a very distant bunch of six Corn Buntings. Red Kite numbers were high with a count of six we also saw Red Fox, Brown Hare and a Muntjac Deer.
As we were very close to Brancaster we dropped into the beach area where an over-wintering Hume's Leaf Warbler had been reported nearly everyday for the last month or so. We thought we would give it a try, big mistake, the wind was awful out there and we were looking into the sun.
We ate our picnic lunch in the car at Brancaster beach around 2pm before driving across to Stiffkey to visit the Warham Greens' raptor roost site. We made several stops along the way looking into fields and suitable places for Grey Partridges but only found the Red-legged variety. In one field we saw four Egyptian Geese with a Barnacle Goose and in the meadows around Holkham Freshmarsh we saw countless Pink-footed and Brent Geese from the car.
It was around 3pm when we reached the 'harrier stake-out' at Warham Greens, a small crowd had gathered and no sooner had we set up our scope when a shout went out "the Pallid is showing"! We both quickly found the bird and enjoyed two short bursts of activity before the bird went out of sight landing on the ground. Over the next hour we had great views of at least three Hen Harriers (Guy saw a Male that I didn't) two Merlins, lots of Marsh Harriers, a Buzzard and a Peregrine.
there is a Merlin in this picture!
The Peregrine gave us some entertainment as it chased other birds of prey around and it played around with a Herring Gull but it never took anything for supper. Lots of Geese came over us, mainly Brent Geese, as well as Curlews, Lapwings, Oystercatchers and Shelduck.
We left around 4pm and got back to the hotel just after five, it had been a much better day weatherwise but it was still bracing out there, hopefully the wind will drop somewhat tomorrow.