I woke up far too early this morning – I'm sure it was around 4am and I found it difficult to get back to sleep. I still felt tired when I got up, but was determined not to waste the day. The sun was shining and I needed to escape. I went to Ringstead to buy a sack of sticks for mother's fire and delivered them along with an Eastern Daily Press. I arrived at Titchwell RSPB and was horrified to find all carparks full. But the carparks were not full with birders, they were full with the coloured wellington brigade with armfuls of dogs, some on leads, some off leads – they took over the reserve and were filtering along the main bank to the beach. I presume they were taking advantageous of the fact that there was no one in the information hut in the carpark to entice them to put some money in the ticket machine. I hope that Titchwell doesn't end up like Holme, I really do. Throughout my time here I could see people carrying their little doggy bags and I know for a fact that they didn't all end up in the dog bin, as I spotted two of them slung on top of the grassy bank that runs alongside the main path. There are now a staggering10.5 million dogs in the UK – what I don't understand is why people have to have so many?! I watched a couple today with 5 in tow and another family with 6!!!!
Anyway back to birding! A water rail was in the dyke by the willow tree at the start of the main path. Lots of birds on the feeders including greenfinches, chaffinches, great, blue and long-tailed tits etc. A robin jumped in front of my camera and posed beautifully. On the freshmarsh there were hundreds of golden plovers, at least 85+ lapwings, shovelers, teal, oystercatchers, 1 avocet, shelduck, brent geese, 2 mute swans etc. When I reached the beach I walked east towards Brancaster to photograph the seals. On route there were loads of turnstones and oystercatchers feeding amongst the massive razor wreck. There were six seals in the creek and they were having a fabulous time playing together and on several occasions they flipped out of the water! Sadly though, dog owners were selfish and seemed to enjoy watching their dogs harrass the seals, which annoyed me intensely and I shouted across to ask them to keep their dogs under control and on a lead. Whilst I sat on the sand watching the seals there were several groups of people walking here from Brancaster, all with dogs – now this was just in the 45 minutes that I sat here, which means these seals are being stressed by dogs all day every day!!! I left feeling really sad.
I trudged back along the beach and it had now started to rain. Loads of gulls and waders on the shoreline. Walked back along the main path and sat in Fen Hide for a while. It was now dusk and I counted four marsh harriers and a little egret coming in to roost, but unusually I didn't see any hen harriers. Lots of blackbirds were making a fuss as I walked back through the copse to my car – possibly an owl around!
Watched the film "Miss Potter" starring Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor – a wonderful film.
Back to work tomorrow.