Trip reports

Titchwell RSPB Reserve - 16 November 2014

Adult black-tailed godwit in summer plummage, at the RSPB Snettisham nature reserve, Norfolk

Sunday, 16 November 2014

The original venue for this date was Snettisham, but because the damage caused to the hides by the storm surges of December 2013 hadn't been fully rectified we decided to look for a vacancy elsewhere. Fortunately Titchwell RSPB reserve was able to accommodate us.
The Meteorological Office predicted that the rain would arrive at four o'clock but the wind had other ideas and I think the first spots landed on the lenses of my scope around eleven thirty. The birds that were in the area didn't seem unduly put out by the rain and the group of members with me managed to survive the day by retreating into the hides at intervals.
Birds were quite plentiful but weren't all offering the best of views. A flock of pink-footed geese flew north high over our heads with no sign of stopping and the marsh harriers that appeared kept their distance, quartering the reed beds or perching on distant dead trees.
Flocks of golden plover displayed their flying skill so that we could compare their slimmer pointier shape with their lapwing cousins that flapped about on wings that looked just a bit too broad.
A highlight for me was finding a couple of spotted redshank feeding very close to the path, with all having a chance to study their form and compare them with common redshank feeding close by.
Our visit to the beach was briefer than usual. We scanned a grey sea that was virtually bird-less, though some people did find some interesting birds at times during the day. We had to be content with a few gulls, a grey seal that showed its nose and head a few times, and some great crested grebes. We were entertained by black and bar-tailed godwits that fed on the shoreline with a few sanderling, and a small flock of unidentified birds passed overhead a couple of times without giving any clues as to what they were. Some very nasty rain laden clouds approaching from the north-west drove us back to the hides where we could all make the most of the assembled ducks and waders on offer. It was sobering at that point to remember that had we been at Snettisham at least some of us would have been stuck outside "enjoying" the fresh air.
The group total of species for the day was 83 which apparently included a late curlew sandpiper and a red-crested porchard, both of which I missed! Better luck next time!