13 November 2005

The sun still shines...

After what seemed like weeks of rain, with only the odd bright day, Saturday arrived dry and cloud free, if a little cold! If only it would stay like it for the rest of the day! The morning continued in a positive manner as we waited in the centre of Derby for the coach to take us to Titchwell, Norfolk, for the day's birdwatching. A male Peregrine Falcon flew over and landed on the cathedral across the road from us! First good bird of the day!

By just after 9:00AM we were stopping at the Farm Cafe on the A17 - one large sausage, bacon and egg cob later and I'm ready for anything the day can throw at me! Having done this trip many times before I took the chance to sleep off my second breakfast at times during the rest of the journey! 11:00AM and we were at Titchwell. By now the weather was looking great, clear blue sky, plenty of sunshine and only a light breeze.

The first good bird on the reserve was a "heard only" Cetti's Warbler. We did spend a short while waiting to see if it would show but then moved onto the marsh itself. From the path down towards the sea we saw Curlew, Little Grebe, Dunlin, Ruddy Duck, Little Egret, and large numbers of Brent Geese feeding on the salt marsh. A Water Rail caught us by surprise as it took flight from the side of the path. It wasn't just the fact it flew up from close to us but also seeing a Water Rail in flight was pretty unusual.

From the sea shore we managed to pick out Common Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-throated Diver and Great Crested Grebe on the water and also 5 Gannet flying past some way out to sea. After much searching we also picked up 2 or 3 Velvet Scoter in amongst the Common Scoter. Three Sanderling that flew past were the only waders of note.

On the walk back towards the visitor centre we stopped off at one of the hides for a while and saw a flock of around 400 Golden Plover and large numbers of Oystercatcher. Other birds of note included Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit, Avocet, Grey Plover, Ruff and Pintail. A Peregrine hunted overhead for a while but failed to make a kill. A Marsh Harrier showed briefly over the reed beds as we walked back along the path to the visitor centre. By this time the sun was starting to set on what had been a very good day's birding! We saw a total of 59 species ourselves, not a huge count but still a very enjoyable day!

Titchwell photos here!

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