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Saturday 25 February 2012

Seawatching Extravaganza!!!

The day started with sightings of a Camel and Zebra, grazing in a field at Knights Hill roundabout, King's Lynn – seriously!!! (Circus in town)

Got the first bus at 6.55am to Hunstanton and then the first Coastliner bus to Titchwell arriving at 8.03am.

Titchwell RSPB
It was wonderful to be out early, the sun was shining with blue skies and it was a beautiful crisp start to the day. 4 grey partridges plummeted from the field by the main road as I got off the bus. I meandered round the carpark before going to catch the high tide at 8.22am. I had fabulous views of 2 pairs of bullfinches all sitting together in the same tree in the far carpark - couldn't get the camera out of rucksack quick enough for a picture though! Loads of pink footed geese, greylags and canada's in the ploughed field adjacent to last carpark and also several red-legged partridges and 2 black pheasants!.

Walking through the picnic area produced the usual fluffy robins, long tailed tits, great and blue tits, hedge sparrows, blackbirds, 2 wrens and chaffinches. By the feeders next to the cafe a Song Thrush was foraging for food, which I spent some time photographing. The main feeders produced the usual greenfinches, goldfinches, chaffinches etc. Around the Fen Trail a Cetti's Warbler was heard. Nothing of note from the Fen Hide. 4 Carrion crows flew over north west. Along the main path I watched at least 4 Lesser Redpolls in the Alders west of the path. Near Island hide I heard a Bearded Tit 'pinging'. 2 Avocets were on a shallow pool on the west side of the path.

Seawatching 9.25am-11.15am.
This was one of the best seawatching stints I have had at Titchwell for a long time!

4 Eider (flying east)
9 Goldeneye, then stopped counting as dotted all over the sea!
1 Scaup (sitting on sea with goldeneye)
2 Velvet Scoter (on sea)
5 Long-tailed Ducks
1 Red-throated Diver
1 Black-throated Diver (sitting on sea and then took off)
5 Red-breasted Mergansers (landed on sea)
2 Slavonian Grebes (on sea)
1 Red-necked Grebe (on sea)
1 Great Crested Grebe
3 Razorbills
2 Guillemots
1 Fulmar
6 Shelduck
35 Sanderlings
2 Ringed Plovers (feeding along the shore)
2 Lapland Buntings at 10.05am, picked up by Tony (RSPB volunteer, can't remember his surname) coming in off the sea and flew almost over our heads!!!

I attempted to photograph the long-tailed ducks, but realised that they were still way too far off for my lens! Loads of oystercatchers sitting on the shore towards Brancaster. I crossed the wet sands and walked for what seemed like miles to watch 5 Common Seals basking in the sunshine – rubbish photographs though, as the sun was directly behind them. It was such a beautiful day, it almost felt like summer. I walked over the dune ridge to get out of the wind and sat in the marram grass to eat my sandwiches. A skylark serenaded me, ascending into blue, cloudless skies. It would have been very easy to have 40 winks here! I plodded back over the sands to RSPB Titchwell. I half expected this long walk to produce some snow buntings, but none were seen. Tons of razorshells on the beach.

Back along the main path I sat on the concrete block not far from the boarded section that runs up to the beach, to sit and wait for a possible chiffchaff to appear. I was told earlier that an 'interesting' chiffchaff has been appearing here over the last 4 weeks and it had been seen earlier this morning. I sat for ages gazing into the sueda bushes, stood, walked about, sat, 'pished', squeaked and all kinds, but no chiffchaff appeared for me! I continued along the path and watched a black-tailed godwit close to the path, 2 spotted redshanks and 2 reed buntings. From Parrinder Hide I saw several pintail, teal, mallard, shoveler etc, redshanks, black headed gulls, 23 Avocets, 2 snipe, marsh harrier and a single pied wagtail. People had been watching 5 bean geese amongst the pink footed geese on the marsh west of main path, but I couldn't see any when I looked. Walked to the 'Feeding Station and sat outside eating a vege pasty and succumbed to a piece of carrot cake and a cup of tea. Whilst sitting here I watched (presumably) the same song thrush I had seen early this morning by the feeders. Walked round the Fen Trail again and saw very little from the Fen hide. Back onto the main path I had a brief but good view of a Bittern flying east over the main path at 3.50pm! Walked back to the carparks and counted 75 Lapwings in the large ploughed field! Raced to the bus stop to catch the 4.10pm bus to Holme - it was 20 minutes late and not only was it full, but people were standing all along the aisle! Got off at Holme and walked to Holme Marsh Reserve.

Holme Marsh Reserve
As soon as I walked through the first kissing gate I had fabulous views of a Short-eared Owl over my head at 4.45pm!!! From the first and second hide: gadwall, pochard, tufted ducks, shelducks, teal and mallard. A Tawny Owl was heard distantly.

Walked to my parents house to visit them for a short while. Father had his second cataract removed a few days ago, which had been extremely painful, unlike the first one where he experienced almost no pain at all. He seemed more settled today, but hadn't really noticed a massive difference in his vision so far. He very clearly informed mother and I, that he would NOT be going back to the hospital for any other treatment or check-ups!!! Also on the subject of father - the Lynn News seemed to have stopped adding his last two or three "NATURE NOTES" to their website, so I have not been able to link them on my blog - I have emailed them to ask why, but still have not received a reply. Yesterday's Nature Notes is added to the website I have just noticed, so have linked this in my next post.

I caught the last bus home arriving back in my house at 7.30pm and fell asleep!


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