Monday, September 23, 2013

Snettisham for the Spring Tide

Yep, it's been a while and my apologies accordingly.  I had to leave my job and take a breather.  I'm still taking that breather and will continue to do so for at least another year (though we are selling a house having bought another house, having building work done and a few other bits and bobs) but this is time for me to unwind and get over the stress illnesses that had been mounting up.

We've started to get out and about again, our first 'proper' trip being planned back in May when I was working my notice, and that was to take advantage of the timing of the neap tide at Snettisham, when it coincides with wader migration.

Saturday:

We arrived at the car park at Snettisham RSPB at 05:45 and walked out on the beach in the first light of day.

With the first light of day of we could start to make out the huge numbers of birds roosting on the mud flats, I estimate at least 50,000 birds, no doubt there were more, this was just the spot we were at after all.

As well as the tidal flow the forecast was for leaden skies but we were also treated to a beautiful sunrise:


The tide rushes in, quickly starting to cover the mud and reduce the space for the waders forcing them to start to move together in even tighter groups:

video


As more and more mud is covered they take to the air in larger flocks moving across the remaining mud towards the land:

video

They get more and more pressed together, eventually there's no mud left so they fly over the water to land and the lagoons therein:


We were lucky that the sunrise coincided with this spectacle:



By 8am the waders were settled in their roosts in the lagoons so we headed back to Hunstanton for breakfast and on for pleasant albeit quiet visits to RSPB Titchwell and NWT Cley before driving on to Lowestoft and our hotel there for Saturday night.

At Titchwell extensive works have been completed with the lagoons brought further inland to provide better defence against ingress by the sea, leading to some former wooded areas to be marshland now:

Sunday:
Sunday morning we had the first breakfast sitting available at 7am and then drive to Minsmere

One bird I really wanted to during the weekend was the Bearded Reedling or Bearded Tit.  We'd helped someone see them on Saturday without seeing them ourselves.  We headed to the Island hide but rather than go in, stayed on the boardwalk and were soon rewarded with great views of a small flock:



Amusingly the hide emptied as everyone inside came running out to try and get a picture while the birds were showing so well :)  Minsmere was also very quiet so we decided to head for home well pleased with the weekend away.

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