Despite some mixed weather conditions bird sightings were similar to the week before, with a few exceptions...
Out to sea there were sightings of red necked grebe, red throated diver, great crested grebe and double figure numbers of juvenile gannets. The more notable sightings in land were one or two grey plover on the brackish marsh, and, on the freshwater marsh, upto:
2 green sandpipers, 10 spoonbills, 600 bar-tailed godwits, 2 curlew sandpipers, a peregrine, a jack snipe and a little stint.
There was also a yellow-browed warbler reported on the new trail near Patsy's reedbed on the 24th. The pectoral sandpiper (juvenile) showed up again, and was seen on most days, usually foraging in the North West corner of the freshwater marsh, in amongst the dock.
With some brighter evenings I've had the opportunity to walk the reserve with my camera after work...
A black-tailed godwit feeding on the freshwater marsh
An avocet feeding on the salt water side of the Parrinder hide
We also had a pretty exciting moth week this week. As well as the usual setaceous hebrew characters we had a black rustic, red underwing and...
A pink-barred sallow
Check out this canary shouldered thorn (with a slightly deformed wing - it didn't stop it flying away though)
and my favourite, the burnished brass, a very polished moth.
If you're into your dragonflies then now's a great time to see migrant hawkers.
Its not everyday you get to hold a book signing so we’re very excited about Andrew Fallan coming to the reserve tomorrow to sign copies of his book Winging it- Birding for low-flyers!
The blurb for Andrew Fallan’s book reads:
“Do you have a passion for wildlife, and do you enjoy watching birds? Are you also hopeless at identifying some of the more difficult ones? Do you feel lost without a field guide, and can you count on both hands the number of birds that you can identify by their calls alone?....you are not alone.”
Fallan takes us on a journey around the British Isles and encourages us to seek solace in the simple enjoyment of birds.
Come along to meet the Author and have your copy signed! 11am - 2pm in the Visitor Centre.
I love this time of the year, it is full of opportunities and surprises. With the dark evenings it is the season of night classes. One of my friends is taking lessons on fungi and her instructor is willing to identify specimens for his class. She took one from our car park for me, it was a southern bracket, Ganoderma australe.
Out on our new east trail I found an oxford ragwort, and a very stunted perennial sunflower, while in the shingle surrounding the visitor centre a nasturtium has seeded itself, obviously an escape from the flower baskets. These three alien plants originated from S.Europe, North and South America respectively. It just shows how easy it is to introduce foreign species to our country.
The moth season is slowing down, only one new species, a lunar underwing, made it's way onto my list, although there have been canary-shouldered thorns, green carpets, light emeralds, red underwings etc. to add a bit of colour to the place
Two American waders have been my real stars of the last fortnight. The first pectoral sandpiper I ever saw here gave me a totally wrong impression of the species. It was considerably larger than the dunlin nearby and instead of consistently pecking at the mud, it spent it's whole time rushing about catching crane flies. Our present bird is very different, it has spent most of it's time poking about on the edge of the vegetation and disappears for hours at a time into the stands of golden dock.
I have only seen two baird's sandpipers at Titchwell, the first was in 1998 and took me four days to find it. I believe it is still Norfolk's only springtime record. Last week's took me five seconds to find - far more acceptable! It spent a couple of days feeding out in the open close to, but often not actually with, dunlin and ringed plovers. It was slightly smaller than the dunlin and appeared short-legged and long-winged. There has been another small long-winged wader around this week which looks rather like a baird's, but the back patterning and the leg length do not look right.
I can't wait for tomorrow, heavy rain and an easterly near-gale tonight must bring in loads of migrants to boost my Rambles list up from it's present total of 1105. I shall probably be dreaming tonight of yellow-browed warblers, red-breasted flycatchers and..........?