Beach to ourselves at Titchwell RSPB!
"Penny's Hot Birding Tours"
with my work colleagues and friends:
Gemma, Jane, Maureen, Cilla & Mat with Theo in pushchair, Emily M. with baby Thomas in pushchair, Sara, Lily & Gary, Helen, Hilary, Scott, Emily W. and Andrea.
I organised this a few months ago, to give my work colleagues a little taste of 'hot birding' and to enjoy the wilds of Norfolk, the sea, sand, wind in your hair and Fish 'n' Chips from Eric's!
We more or less went straight from work and met up in the car park at Titchwell at 5.30pm. Theo had come prepared with his orange plastic telescope – a birder in the making! I set up my telescope at the lowest level for him to look through at Daddy, he was smiling when he looked through the scope, but I wasn't sure if he could see or not! I bored everyone senseless straight away, after leading them all to the second car park to listen to the Turtle Dove purring away..... who wasn't and didn't show either! Typical! Mind you, it was very windy, so would have been a job to hear anyway. So, back we trundled, prams and all to the first car park and onto the main path via visitor centre. First bird we saw was a Wood Pigeon (all exciting stuff!) in the picnic area. It spiced up a bit with Chaffinches, Goldfinches and Greenfinches at the bird feeders. None of the normally showy, tame Robins appeared at all – I can't recall every visiting here without seeing a Robin!
Along the main path, the strong winds killed off all sound of any birds singing! We all squeezed into Island Hide (apologies to the one birder in there!) and I set up my scope for viewing and lent out my two pairs of binoculars. I counted approximately 70+ Dunlin on the Freshmarsh, tons of Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits, Ruff, Redshanks, Oystercatchers, Lapwings, Mallard, Common Terns, Little Gulls x 2, Med. Gulls, Black-headed Gulls, Cormorants, Shelducks. Not a single 'bl**dy' Spoonbill was on show for anyone to look at! How frustrating! It was equally frustating to see only mud for quite a distance next to Island Hide – normally the water level is right next to the hide and Avocets etc are feeding right under your nose for excellent viewing without binoculars. I just couldn't understand why this was, so phoned Eddie on my return home later, to see if he knew why – he explained that very simply, it was the strong winds and direction of wind, that had swept the shallow areas of water dry (long story short).
Out on the beach, three of the girls decided to go swimming, so off they went for a dip in the sea! Rather them than me! There was a raft of Common Scoter on the sea and Common Terns and Sandwich Terns were fishing. Some Cinnabar Caterpillars were feeding on Ragwort, which I showed to a few people. Jane had seen a Sanderling running along the shoreline.
People started to drift back along the main path and last to leave was Jane, Gemma and I – luckily we saw 3 Spoonbills distantly at the back of the Freshmarsh, a Little Egret was roosting on the dead trees and a Little Ringed Plover was fairly close to the path. No Barn Owls or Marsh Harriers were seen at all. A Reed Bunting flew across the path and landed in the sueda bushes briefly, before diving for cover in the blustery winds. We all met back at the car park and then drove in convoy to Eric's. My birding group of 14 + toddler & baby went down to 11 adults for fish 'n' chips.
When we walked into Eric's Fish 'n' Chips, my heart sank – I have never seen that restaurant packed out with so many people! I was shocked! Far bigger numbers than a Saturday lunch time! I had already tipped the staff off that I was bringing in a large number of people and they were very accommodating and quickly pushed together three tables for us. Considering how packed they were, their service was excellent and it didn't seem very long at all before they dished up our orders. Everyone seemed to enjoy their meal – Gemma was the only one that succumbed to dessert and had salted caramel ice-cream which looked very nice indeed! We all left at about 9.15pm. It was really nice that some of my colleagues had joined me, when they had such a long way to return home, some in the Norwich direction and some to Ely etc and we all have work in the morning, so thank you all for coming – I really enjoyed the evening.
I was shattered, but just couldn't drive past my mother's house without popping in. It was a good job I did, as mother was incredibly frustrated with her TV – the station for 24 hour BBC news, which is normally 130, had disappeared and the whole TV needed to be re-tuned and mother had no idea how to do this – mind you, neither did I, but sorted it out in the end! BBC News channel is now 231 – mother was very pleased I had managed to find this for her! Good day all round!
I don't know how many potential serious birders I have created this evening, probably none, but I think they all enjoyed it! Beautiful walk, dark clouds and dramatic light, empty beach, what more could you ask for!
We all have a very busy week socially – one of our lovely physio's Kelly's last day is tomorrow, she leaves for pastures new and we have a barbecue leaving party in the evening. Next week we are celebrating with a surprise evening event on Wednesday for Bev's 50th Birthday! Busy, busy, busy – oh and the hairdressers too! The following week, my car is going in for its first full service (2 years old in September) and then we have the Rutland Bird Fair!
Pictures of Hot Babes swimming to be added!!!