Sunday, August 31, 2008

Nipped to Norfolk Saturday

We're both working our socks off at the moment and needed to get away a bit to clear our heads. Where better for a short break than Norfolk? At least the forecast for Saturday was promising, in fact the BBC even threatened sunshine! Hah!

First stop Titchwell RSPB, which has just announced a decision to allow the sea to encroach on the outer-most lagoon. Shame - that'll be the rising sea levels due to climate change due to human activity. And this is just the start...

We aimed to get to Titchwell promptly - but then I'd got the accommodation wrong by booking in Cromer (too far and too expensive) so we had an hour trip to get there - still, we beat the mid-morning rush. The hides were still relatively quiet, and in the early morning light the ducks and waders fed undisturbed:

The first bird I didn't recognise, and that had me scrambling for the field guide, is this juvenile Ruff:

Ruff are supposed to be relatively scarce but wherever we went this weekend, they were present in good numbers. We saw at least one hundred all told. Here's another juvenile, which was feeding less then 10 yards from the footpath:

From the next hide, the bird we'd really been hoping to see this weekend, a pair of Spoonbill:

They remained distant whilst we were there, but they were also frisky, allopreening and building a nest - at the end of August! I took loads of shots of this pair, they'd started sat together before the juvenile Grey Heron had disturbed them, but even at 840x they remained too far away for anything other than record shots.

From the other side of the hide, a small group of Grey Plover were roaming around and feeding:

This is an adult in full breeding plumage, a very striking bird:

We walked out to the shore and along to the right, looking for different species. A number of gulls of different types were clustered along the shore, together with more waders, including this Oystercatcher:

A Greenshank:

seen here with a Redshank for comparison:

Curlew, in good numbers and making a lot of noise :)

From Titchwell we headed, 'perfectly planned' to high tide at Snettisham. Only I'd goofed. In fact it was just after a very low tide when arrived (when we got home I realised it was 30 August 2009 that high tide is 3pm, 30 August 2008 was around 6:30 in the morning - doh!). So rather than teeming with birds, it was very very very quiet. Oh well. There was a flock of Dunlin roosting on the mud, a Common Buzzard flying overhead and a few other bits and bobs. This juvenile Knot confused me, due to the length of the bill, but Ken and Mike identified it:

All along the shore at Snettisham were Horned Poppies:

From Snettisham, and feeling sheepish, we headed to the NWT reserve at Cley, for our last stop of the day.

Just along the path toward the first hides, an adult and a juvenile Little Grebe were feeding together, this is the juvenile:

We identify them by their 'tennis knickers', as well as their comparative size, etc.

The view from the lone hide was frankly amazing. Loads and loads of waders, as close as 10 metres, including this Dunlin (left) and Snipe (right):

You can see the Snipe below, apparently 'snorkeling':

before preening:

The Snipe were in a group of four birds (we've only seen two together before). There were plenty of other waders outside the hide, including this juvenile Ringed Plover:

A juvenile Dunlin (one of many):

Juvenile Black-tailed Godwits:

they were the biggest waders of the evening:

Beautiful birds and really good to see so many juveniles, which suggests a good breeding season. I hope so:

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