Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Cold and Windy Norfolk

Tuesday 29 October

Up early and away to collect birding pal, Chris bell at Peterborough railway station and then on to RSPB Titchwell Marsh on the North Norfolk coast.  Mainly Crow, Rook and Magpie plus Jay, House Sparrow and Collared Doves on the journey and, despite traffic holdup approaching Wisbech, on site by just after 9.30.  Off to Visitors Centre so that Chris could get a well-earned coffee having set off around 6ish and immediately Blackbird followed by Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch Great and Blue Tits on the feeders with a couple of Moorhen below - along with a coupe of furry rats!  Also in the general area we also recorded both Wood Pigeon and Black-headed Gull before moving on to "Patsy's Reedbed" where we found Mallard, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Mute Swan and Little Grebe.

Freshwater marsh, RSPB Titchwell Marsh
Time to head off towards the beach with calls at the two hides on the way.  Passing along the Fen Trail we had a small family party of Long-tailed Tits and a rather noisy Cetti's Warbler.   No sound nor sight of  Bearded Reedling but to our left the first sighting of the newly-arrived Brent Geese along with a couple of Teal and a Redshank so the next stop was the Island Hide looking over the freshwater marsh with the sun behind us.  From the hide we got another view of the Water Pipit that was feeding in the south-west corner noted as we approached said hide.  On the water itself a rather large flock of Golden Plover in front of the main hide but nearer to hand we quickly saw many Teal and Wigeon along with a few Greylag Geese, Shelduck, Pochard and Shoveler.  Waders included Knot, Ruff, Lapwing, Curlew, Dunlin and Avocet.  The only raptor recorded was a Kestrel.

Recpord shot against the Sun of a few of the Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria

Moving on down to the Parrinder Hide, noting both Meadow Pipit and Sky Lark on the way, we had closer views of the waders, especially the large flock of Golden Plover, along with both Wigeon and very many Teal.  Chris was overjoyed to find the single Grey Plover on the Volunteer Marsh and more Curlew and Redshank were seen plus our first Little Egret and Heron of the day.

The wandering Curlew Numenius arquata

Lots of waders on the beach plus passing Cormorant including Sanderling, Oystercatcher, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover and Turnstone.  A Common Gull was also recorded before we made our way back to the car park..  However, a few metres beyond the Island Hide we experienced a sudden, sharp and short shower so were able to take a hasty shelter.  Just as well as once inside we had close views of the Water Rail that wandered out from the thick reeds.

Water Rail Rallus aquaticus
A stop for our picnic lunch at Brancaster Staithe with the tide well out produced Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew and Turnstone along with Great Crested Grebe and both Black-headed and Common Gulls then it was on to Holkham to find the wintering Pink-footed Geese.

Common (Mew) Gull Larus canus

No sooner had we found the gees than we also found a very large flock of Brent Geese.  However, neither of these was our our "Bird of the Day" as, having noted the Pied wagtail in front of us and the Robin sitting on the fence, than I saw a couple of Grey Partridge resting/feeding on the grass less than ten metres in front of our newly-parked car.  A closer look produced a further three to the right and, after getting out of the car to take photographs, we found a further thirteen a little further to our left.

Part of the covey of 18 Grey Partridge Perdix perdix
Continuing our search we then found a handful of Egyptian Geese in with the Brants and a small party of Jackdaws flew overhead between the trees.  Not to be outdone, a cock Pheasant casually crossed the road as we made our departure.

Egyptian Goose Alopochen aeggyptiacus

Having seen the Buzzard as we approached Cley, we made straight to the nearest hide where the first bird seen was a low-passing Peregrine Falcon and conformed many Teal along with Wigeon, Gadwall, Shoveler, Mallard and Shelduck.  Also seen were Avocet, Lapwing and Black-headed, Lesser Black-backed, Herring and Greater Black-backed Gulls.


Our final call with light fading fast as the sun dipped low was the very cold beach at the back of the reserve.  Freezing doesn't do justice to how we felt on leaving the car to walk the shingle with still a good number of sea-watchers sheltering from the strong, cold breeze and holding on tightly to their scopes.  We did eventually find a handful of Canada Geese and walking back to the car a few Goldfinches rose from the scrub and then the sight of more than 30 Common Scoter flying westwards low over the water about thirty metres off shore.  Not bad given that the count had been well in excess of 200 for the day.

Pink-footed Geese Anser brachyrhynchus
Brent Geese Branta bernicla

And so ended our little Norfolk adventure to be followed by the drive back to Peterborough for Chris to catch his train to Worksop and me carry on to Stamford.  A great day's birding in excellent company and a final species total of 71 for the day.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
Birds seen:
Pink-footed Goose, Greylag Goose, Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Shelduck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Scoter, Grey Partridge, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Buzzard, Kestrel, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Greater Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Sky Lark, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet and Corn Bunting.



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