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Sunday, 10 August 2014

Storm Bertha, 1000 Terns & the Supermoon at Titchwell RSPB!!!

Storm 'Bertha' looms over Choseley!

Worked this morning – a very hard shift, finished at 1pm. Sun shining when I left work. Got home and packed car up with birding gear whilst the weather was dry, cooked dinner, shower, made sandwich for later. Dark skies, rain fell, wind speed gathering – snoozed until 5pm! Got a text from my sister Vivien to announce the arrival of storm 'Bertha' in Ely – she was in a supermarket carpark and couldn't leave the car – thunder, lightening, hailstones – '15 minutes of madness' was how she described it. I could have carried on snoozing to be honest, but was determined to get out birding, even in a storm!

Went to Titchwell RSPB, via Choseley and stopped to look in the flower crop for any butterflies. It was bright sunshine with very moody skies! Found a Red Admiral and one of the 'Wave' moths, but nothing else and certainly no sign of any Clouded Yellow Butterflies. The dark rolling clouds loomed other head. 6pm when I arrived at Titchwell.

Phone-scoped Video with iphone 5s & Nikon ED50 & 13-40 Zoom.
Massive count of 1000+ Common Terns and Sandwich Terns.
Black-headed Gulls, 7 Spoonbills, Black-tailed Godwits,
Avocets, Shelducks and Dunlin

Titchwell RSPB
I got as far as Island Hide when I paused for a moment. I was going to head straight for the sea and then return to scan all the gulls etc, but the clouds from the west looked well dodgy, so I decided to play safe. I didn't fancy getting drenched, so dived into Island Hide. A Stoat ran along the path. There was a couple in the hide and they left a few moments later – I had the hide all to myself!

This evening was probably my best ever at Titchwell for sheer volume of birds – there must have been thousands of birds in brilliant sunshine and dramatic clouds. By the naked eye, I thought I was looking at hundreds of gulls, but when I got my scope on them, they were in fact Common and Sandwich Terns!!!! There must have been 1000+ at least!!! There were more terns than gulls!!! It was a fantastic sight indeed! No sign of the Spotted Crake the entire time I was there though. Got some cracking pictures of Black-tailed Godwits and other waders whilst there. Took some phonescoping video of some of the Common Terns, Sandwich Terns and Spoonbills (see video). Three very noisy foreign lads carrying beer cans walked along the main path heading for the beach – they were so loud that lots of birds flushed from near the path. On their return, they were not carrying empty beer cans!!! Very unusual to see this sort of behaviour here and unusual late evening, made me feel a bit uncomfortable with no one else around, but I was then pleased to see Mark B. arrive and sit on the wooden seat on the bank to scan the gulls.

Packed up my gear and went to join Mark on the main path – he said he was hoping for the Franklin's Gull to drop in – you and me both! Mark also noted the three lads and said he had also felt a bit uncomfortable, as he said, with all the expensive gear us birders carry round, it does sometimes make you feel vulnerable. The scene before us was amazing, thousands of birds, with gulls dropping into roost, right up until 8.30pm. The orange  Supermoon  looked equally amazing! With my coat and winter boots on, I was still chilly! Mark found 4 Med. Gulls in the roost. Neither of us had seen any Curlew Sandpipers or Spotted Redshanks, but everything else was there: Spoonbills x 7 (Mark had seen 11 earlier), tons of Avocets, Common and Sandwich Terns, Black-headed Gulls, Common Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls, Dunlins, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Whimbrels flew west, Little Egrets, Marsh Harriers, Cormorants, Pied Wagtails, Shelducks. A massive Starling flock in different plumages having a wash 'n' brush up in the pools – I love watching Starlings, they are just fascinating to watch! Also loads of Swifts flew over, around 20+, heading south.

Left at about 8.45pm and drove home via Ringstead – no owls on route home.


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