Trip reports

SNETTISHAM and TITCHWELL Friday 10th October 2014

SNETTISHAM and TITCHWELL Friday 10th October 2014
Richard Straton

Friday, 10 October 2014

Six members of the Lowestoft Group set out to walk along to the shore. Birds were seen and heard in the air, on bushes, in grass and on the water. The sky to the east turned pink and red, and a golden orb rose. A blue sky day with a gentle breeze, a warming sun and calm water greeted us . . . as did many vehicles driven right down to the hides. By far the majority of passengers were perfectly capable of walking along the pathways making a mockery of "access by car for disabled persons only". The main hide was chock-a-block with seated and standing watchers, telescopes, tripods and cameras with arm's length lenses. We took station on the grassy mound above the shore.
The very high tide was fully in on arrival, somewhat ahead of prediction! Waters were white with gulls and shelduck. Grass appeared empty, but when optically enhanced the view showed heads of curlew, godwit and greylag. Hundreds of oystercatchers flew across the sea, with smaller flocks of redshank, knot, dunlin, ringed plover and black-tailed godwit wondering where to land. Pintail, mallard and wigeon swam here and there. In the lagoons were thousands of knot, oystercatchers, redshank and lapwing. Egyptian, Canada, greylag and pink-footed geese together with red-legged partridge, pheasant, meadow pipits and pied wagtails stood on the grassy banks.
A peregrine falcon put panic in the flocks and the air was filled with tens of thousands of birds wheeling and diving. Wings, backs and breasts caught the sun creating flashes of gold and white as clouds turned. The noise of so many beating wings brought roars to the ear as birds came and went. Flocks separated and some returned to the lagoons, others to the sea. Quiet began again with not even the gentle lapping of the seas to be heard upon the shore.
The masses having left the hide, we went in to view yet more birds at closer quarters before setting off back to the car park.
At Titchwell we joined up with two more members. A walk down to the shore via the new big hide was like negotiating a slalom course - left and right dodging throngs of tripod wielding watchers. Nevertheless the sun shone and there were birds aplenty. Some waders took a bit of identifying in their differing plumages: ruffs and reeves especially.
The tide was down, exposing sands for miles dotted with people. A large flock of around two hundred and fifty common scoters was seen, along with several gannets diving, great crested grebes and red-throated divers disappearing and reappearing, cormorants, gulls and a splendid male eider duck with three females.
A very good bird-watching day was enjoyed by all. The walk at Titchwell in particular would have been greatly enhanced by a warden as a guide. The cost per person would have been well worth it with regard to identification by someone who knew the where, when and what of species less well known to us. Various other species we did not spot had been recorded in the Titchwell blog for the day.
Birds identified at Snettisham [S] - 68 species and Titchwell [T] - 58 species. Overall = 79 species.
Avocet [T], bar-tailed godwit [T], bittern [T], blackbird [S,T], black-headed gull [S,T], black-tailed godwit [S,T], blue tit [T], brent goose [S,T], buzzard [T], Canada goose [S,T], carrion crow [S,T], Cetti's warbler [T], chaffinch [S,T], coal tit [T], collared dove [T], common gull [S], common sandpiper [S], common scoter [T], coot [S,T], cormorant [S,T], curlew [S,T], dunlin [S,T], dunnock [S,T], Egyptian goose [S], eider [T], gannet [T], golden plover [S,T], goldfinch [S], great black-backed gull [S,T], great crested grebe [S,T], great tit [S,T], greenshank [S], grey plover [S], greylag goose [S,T], herring gull [S,T], jackdaw [T], kestrel [S,T], knot [S,T], lapwing [S,T], lesser black-backed gull [S,T], linnet [S], little egret [S,T], little grebe [S,T], little stint [S,T], long-tailed tit [S], magpie [S], mallard [S,T], marsh harrier [S,T], marsh tit [T], meadow pipit [S,T], moorhen [S,T], mute swan [S,T], oystercatcher [S,T], peregrine [S,T], pheasant [S,T], pied wagtail [S,T], pink-footed goose [S], pintail [S,T], pochard [T], red-legged partridge [S], redshank [S,T], red-throated diver [T], ringed plover [S,T], robin [S,T], ruff [S,T], sanderling [T], shelduck [S,T], shoveler [T], skylark [S,T], snipe [T], spotted redshank [T], starling [S,T], teal [S,T], tufted duck [T], turnstone [S,T], wheatear [T], wigeon [S,T], woodpigeon [S,T] and wren [S,T].

Richard Straton