Norfolk: Day 2

Norfolk ~ 18th - 20th February 2014 ~ 

Following on from a great first day, Alex and I were keen to make the second day even better! We had planned to head straight to Titchwell via Thornham to see if we could find the Twite, but our journey was delayed by quite a while when we located some Fulmars that were showing extremely well - flying just meters over our heads at times! We stayed with them for a while, well until I had filled up the only memory card I had with me that is. It was amazing to see them flying so low and to see them sat on the cliffs; I will definitely pay them a visit next time I visit.

Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis)
Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis)
Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis)
Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis)

After our slight delay we headed to Thornham but we struck out on the Twite, with only a Little Egret, Curlew, Stonechat and a single Black-headed Gull as consolation. However, we pressed on and got to Titchwell in good time.
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)

At Titchwell we made a beeline for the beach, stopping briefly to get onto the female Scaup before it flew off and paying a quick visit to the Parrinder hide where we saw lots of waders. These were Redshank, Curlew, Bar & Black-tailed Godwit, Avocet, Ruff, Dunlin, Lapwing, Knot, Golden Plover and Turnstone. There were also quite a few Pintail resting on one of the islands which was lovely to see.

Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica)

We then headed for the beach where large numbers of Scoters had been reported over the previous few days and as soon as we got onto the sand, two thin black lines were evident out at sea. Instead of standing at the back of the beach, by the somewhat reduced dunes, with the other birders, we made our way down to the shoreline where we had a slightly better view of the large Scoter flocks. Within seconds of scanning the closest flock, Alex said that he'd picked out a Velvet Scoter. This was very exciting for me as I'd never seen a Velvet Scoter before, mind you, I'd only ever seen 1 Common Scoter before then as well!! Between us we then picked up quite a few more Velvet Scoters and were wondering what else could be hiding among the huge flocks - there must have been about 6,500 Scoters in total...mind blowing!!

The black lines at the front and the back are all Scoters - there were loads!!
A very distant Velvet Scoter (Melanitta fusca)

Once we were satisfied with the views we'd had and that we'd not missed anything lurking in the flocks, we headed over to the rocks that had been revealed by the receding tide in order to try and photograph some of the waders (Alex and I share an unhealthy obsession for this cracking group of birds). There were lots of different species, including some we'd already seen but the new ones were Sanderling, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover and Grey Plover.

Sanderling (Calidris alba)
Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

It is now a rule in my household that waterproof trousers must be worn when there is even the slightest chance I could be lying, crawling or kneeling down to photograph something, and Titchwell was of course no different. There was just one issue that I found out quite quickly after lying down on the rocks...they were no longer waterproof!

Me in my natural habitat, before I realised
my trousers weren't waterproof 
Me feeling very soggy but too busy photographing
the waders to care!
Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)
Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

Embracing the cold water and wetness, I crawled into a position that I hoped would mean that the birds would think I was just a part of the rocks and continue on their way. Thankfully it worked and both Alex and I enjoyed extremely good views of the Grey Plover for quite some time.

Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)

After deciding that we'd had enough of lying down in the cold water, we retreated away from the birds before standing up and making our way back up the beach, dripping from head to toe. Unfortunately for us, the sand was very saturated and this caused a lot of sinking while we tried to get back onto the solid, stable sand.

This image shows just how wet and sinky the sand was!

At last we managed it and we headed back to the car park, only stopping to photograph a colour ringed Black-tailed Godwit that was quite close to the footpath - it obviously didn't like the look of us because as soon as we stopped, it started walking away from us.

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

We headed back to the car and decided on our plan of action for the rest of the day - after a quick discussion, we settled on Holme NWT which we duly headed to.

A panorama taken on our way back to the car park -
Alex had just finished scanning the water to see
if he could locate the Scaup again

At Holme we paid the beach a quick visit, but the only birds present were in the distance and in our sodden state we didn't fancy the long and windy walk there and back, so we headed round to one of the hides.

The view overlooking Holme

Unfortunately it was locked so we made our way to the next hide which was open. We stayed there for an hour or two and saw a total of 11 Marsh Harriers fly in to roost (some continued onto Titchwell), a distant Barn Owl and our first Pink-footed Geese of the trip.

Pink-footed Geese (Anser brachyrhynchus)

Once it was getting dark we made our way back to the car and then headed back to the hotel, tired but satisfied with our second day of the trip.

Heading back to the car...
I will hopefully have the blog post on our final day in Norfolk finished within the next two weeks so watch this space. 

As always, thank you very much for reading and you can keep up to date with my activity on Facebook and Twitter and my website here

1 comment:

  1. Amazing pics Josie, Titchwell is a brilliant reserve