I enjoy all my days at Titchwell, but today was an exceptional day because it involved virtually everything I'm really interested in. It kicked off with two of us emptying the moth trap, we found 4 Hebrew character and 3 clouded drab. It had been a cold, clear night which
accounted for the low numbers. Following this we went along the east trail where we could hear 2 freshly arrived lesser whitethroats singing
in the hedge but only caught brief glimpses of one of them. Circling over the Fen Hide was a fine common buzzard and a late staying pink-footed goose was with the greylags on Patsy's Reedbed.
I was only lightly involved with a childrens' event put on in the fen hide. They were having a super time building and then painting bug boxes. I watched the youngsters for a while, some of the boxes were spectacularly colourful modern art creations and should have been shown in a gallery. It is great to see children having fun and getting
really involved , I think all of them went home happy with a unique wildlife badge and their own personalised bug box. One local family left their boxes to be put up on the reserve, they came with me and put them in nice sunny spots on trees near the Visitor Centre for all to see.
At this point a man asked me if I could identify a photo he'd taken, it was large red damselfly. He showed me where he'd taken the pic' and the insect was still there, next to it was a speckled wood butterfly and only a minute or two later a holly blue flew past, this was the first
one of each of those species I'd seen this year. Just as I was about to leave a Toad walked through the front door of the shop. I know the RSPB is giving nature a home, but this is going too far!
When I arrive at the reserve I always walk up to the gate at the eastern end of the car park and then stroll round the overflow car park before going on to the reserve. This morning I found a female chaffinch
quietly sunning herself out of the wind near to the coach park. A very colourful cock bird landed very close to her, his pink chest was puffed right out and his wings were drooping in such a way it made his white
wing bars look twice their normal size. He then went into a little sideways dance, several time he went backwards and forwards, all the while swaying his body as though he was keeping time to some lilting melody. He was putting on a fine show, enough to turn the head of any female. At that point another male flew down, gave him a quick peck on
the head and chased him off into the apple trees. The new bird came straight back no doubt to give his mate a good telling off for making eyes at a stranger.
I have often heard people say they'd had a good morning by seeing 45 or so species, I'm fairly disgusted if I haven't noted sixty. Where are they missing out? I repeatedly see visitors get out of their cars and
rush straight down to the hides or beach. They haven't looked in the car park, the grazing meadow west of the visitor centre or lavender pool which on the saltmarsh west of island hide. I find these areas very
rewarding, especially during migration times. This morning I missed out on migrants, but the Chaffinch dance was well worth seeing.
Having had a zero month in February, I was pleased to add two new species to my Ray's Rambles list in March, even if I feel as though I've cheated to do it. The list total now stands at 1245 species. The first newcomer was the quite common micro-moth Diurnea fagella. This I found next to the security light on the corner of the feeding station. The other was a garden flower and I'm almost too embarrassed to count it, but only almost. A small group of Crocus chrysanthus, cream beauty appeared along the east trail near to one of the seats, now where did they come from?They were very pretty, ranging from white to bright yellow and quite a surprise.On the birding front, the most spectacular sight over the last month has been the huge scoter flock on the sea. Up to 8000 common scoter, which I have seen recorded as skodas and scooters, have been seen each day. Finding the small numbers of velvet scoters amongst them has at times been very trying partly due to the haze that has persisted over the water but mainly due to the birds' bad habit of diving .I was very pleased to see that four pairs of red-crested pochards had been reported from Patsy's reedbed and the reedbed pool. The drakes with their basically black and white bodies, orange heads and red eyes and bills are so striking and the ducks plumage, although much more subdued, is very smart. Actually seeing them properly has been the problem for a lot of people. Apart from the fact they dive a lot while feeding, much of the time they've been hidden in the reeds or out in the open but fast asleep. When you do get a good view it is well worth it.We are now heading into one of the most exciting wildlife times of the year so get out there and don't miss a thing! Ray