I spent the evening at Titchwell RSPB, mainly to find the Spotted Crake on the Autumn trail, but failed miserably! Not having much luck with recent rare birds! But I had an amazing time anyway, the light was beautiful and apart from one birder leaving as I arrived and bumping into one another just before I left, I had the entire reserve to myself!
A Song Thrush and Robin greeted me as I drove along the approach road to the car park. I didn't see anything of note along the Fen Trail, but the long hedge that runs alongside Patsy's Pool produced a Common Whitethroat, a party of Long-tailed Tits and a Barn Owl. Cinnabar Caterpillars adorned the Ragwort plants on route to the Autumn Trail and Rabbits were feeding amongst the long grasses. The usual Mute Swans, Coots, Red-crested Pochards, Lapwings, Mallard, Tufted Ducks etc were on Patsy's Pool. I stood for a long time at the furthest point on the Autumn Trail and kept a close eye on any movement by the reed bed. I got very excited for a few seconds, only to find that the bird skulking along and through the dark base of the reeds was a Water Rail, not the hoped for Spotted Crake! I could hear Bearded Tits 'pinging' away close by. Tons of waders on the scrape and pool including loads of Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits, Dunlins, Lapwings, Shelducks, Redshanks and huge flocks of Starlings etc. 2 Kestrels were hovering close by as I walked back. I noticed a new sign that informed me that a new 150 metre extension to this path is now open eastwards – this looked inviting, but decided to do this another time. I took lots of funky sunset pictures with the dead trees in the foreground and then briefly went into Fen Hide. Wow! Maybe not to everyone's liking but I loved it! The entire inside of the hide has been painted brightly with a bird mural, obviously aimed at the younger generation and looked very cheerful.
I walked around the Meadow Trail and walked along the main path to Island Hide. The scene before me was mind blowing! I can't recall seeing that many birds here before. There was mass numbers of everything. Tons of Avocets and tons of Dunlin for starters along with big numbers of Lapwing, also Redshanks, Shelducks, Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Black-headed Gulls, Common Gulls, Herring Gulls, Oystercatchers, Ruff and big flocks of Starlings swirling around. I hadn't got time to count everything, so decided to concentrate on the huge number of Dunlin who were in a feeding frenzy in the foreground of this magnificent scene– I counted 460 Dunlin!!! Reserve record maybe? I couldn't believe I had counted that many – to be fair, there was probably more than that. I looked hard for a Broad-billed Sandpiper or something more exciting. Every so often something would spook everything and the skies were filled with birds, until they settled down to feed again. I stayed until 9.30pm and then headed to Holme to pick up Mother's shopping list. Fabulous evening!
PICTURES AND VIDEOS TO BE ADDED