Sunday 28 January
Up early and off in the dark at 7 o’clock so that I could be at RSPB Titchwell soon after daybreak; should have left thirty minutes earlier! As the light improved once past Kings Lynn and into Norfolk proper first sightings of Magpie, Crow and Rook along with regular Wood Pigeon appearances. Approaching the village of Flitcham a Barn Owl crossed in front of me and driving through the village itself a small flock of Starlings and then, just the other side, a circling Red Kite. Continuing on I can only describe one long stretch of the narrow road as driving down a "Wood Pigeon avenue!" Finally, almost at the junction with the coast road, a flock of a score or more Egyptian Geese grazing on a field to my right as a couple of Kestrels moved overhead. Indeed, it was good to see so many Kestrels during the day.
|You don't often, or want, to illustrate a Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus!|
|Robin Erithicus rubecula|
|Just a few of the Brent Goose Branta bernicla flock|
|Record shot of Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa|
|Turnstone Arenaria interpres|
A more concentrated approach then revealed a couple of Grey Plover and even a Spotted Redshank. At the same time, the waders were joined by a single Little Egret. My first birds on the sea were a pair of Great Crested Grebe. Somewhat surprised, I double-checked with the birder not three metres away and it turned out to be a fellow member of the Andalucia Bird Society, Peter Ashley from Bournemouth on a birding tour of the British coast it would appear having just left Suffolk and making his way home via Newcastle and the West Midlands, etc. Anyway, Peter confirmed the sighting and then proceeded to find me the resting Common Scoters and Guillemot. Next we found the single Red-breasted Merganser and then a Razorbill flew past. Peter had already seen the passing Long-tailed Duck was to be unsuccessful in his search for the reported Velvet Scoter and I had a couple of Cormorant. A call of nature had me hurrying back the three-quarters of a mile to the Visitors Centre but I did manage to add both Long-tailed Tit and Goldfinch before moving on to my next stop at Holkham where, in addition to yet more Wigeon, I found a small flock of Pink-footed Geese and a lone Heron.
|Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus|
|Herring Gull Larus argentatus|
|Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus|
With some light still left I made a final call back at Titchwell as I had realised I had missed three very obvious birds all day. I soon picked up a couple of Dunnock under the feeders but eventually had one of those days when I saw neither House Sparrow nor Collared Dove. Now, surely, that has to be some kind of record for Britain?
|Dunnock Prunella modularis caught in the fading light|
On the other hand, apart from more acrobatic Long-tailed Tits I had a tame Robin that remained within a couple of feet of me at eye level and simply refused to fly away. I swear this little chappy even tried to out-sing me as I made the appropriate whistling/ticking sounds to its face!
|One of the acrobatic Long-tailed Tits Aegithalos caudatus|
In all a rather splendid day, although I would have liked more time on the beach for the sea-watch, with almost 65 species recorded.
Pink-footed Goose, Greylag Goose, Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Shelduck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Common Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser, Pheasant, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Sanderling, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Grenshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Razorbill, Guillemot, Woodpigeon, Barn Owl, Meadow Pipit, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.
|How many rings can a Turnstone Arenaria interpres wear; is there room for a seventh?|
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