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Monday, 30 November 2020

Titchwell RSPB and Holme!

Saturday 28th November 

After having a rest from work, I eventually decided to get out for a much needed walk and fresh air. I arrived at Titchwell RSPB around mid afternoon. My mission was to find something exciting at Thornham Point on the east wind that had been blowing all day! So I didn't focus too much on waders etc on the freshmarsh, but did see a single Bewick's Swan (reported earlier on RBA) in the middle of The Freshmarsh. I speed walked along the main path to the beach and headed west to Thornham Point. A Pied Wagtail was on the beach amongst the usual Turnstones, Oystercatchers and gulls.

Just as I was about to cross over to the buckthorn scrub, I was very pleased to find a Black Redstart feeding on the beach at the edge of the dunes. It was 3.30pm and the light was very poor and I knew my camera wouldn't focus enough to even take a record shot and in any case, the Black Redstart promptly flew off over the dunes! I saw it enough to know it was one – overall slate grey/dark and flash of rusty red tail as it flew off, but I needed to see it in better light, just in case it was an Eastern Black Redstart! I found a few Blackbirds in the buckthorn scrub and then made my way back in the gloom along the beach. It was almost dark, by the time I got back to my car! I decided to return in the morning, to fully check out my Black Redstart.


Sunday 29th November

Annoyingly I had a bad night of restless leg syndrome, so hardly slept at all. Left early morning and arrived at Titchwell RSPB at around 7.45am. It was a grey and murky day, with no sign of any sun appearing and it started spitting with rain later in the morning too.

Along the main path I heard a Cettis's Warbler singing, lots of waders and gulls on the freshmarsh: Little Egrets, Grey Heron, Redshanks, Black-tailed Godwits, Lapwings, Knot, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Shelducks, Shoveler, Curlews and lots of gulls. At the beach, the tide line was busy with feeding Turnstones, Oystercatchers, Grey Plovers with Redshanks further out towards the sea and small flocks of Brent Geese flew past.

I returned to the area where I had seen the Black Redstart, in hope that it may still be around, but no luck with that after much searching! Set up my new lightweight fold-up stool and sat on the south side of the buckthorn scrub to wait for something to appear, whilst enjoying a marmalade sandwich. Apart from a few Blackbirds and a Stonechat, I didn't see anything else of note. Ambled back along the beach and took arty farty pictures of shells – found some lovely pink/mother of pearl Top shells, Sea Urchins, Piddocks, tons of Razors and also Mussels amongst others. My sisters and I would spend many happy hours searching for shells when we were children and I remember us being especially excited when we found a Cowrie shell – not a shell I have found on Norfolk beaches for years! We also used to search hard for pieces of Amber, but never found any – my father had found three pieces over the 33 years he was warden at Holme.

Crows were feeding on the tide line, which reminded me of Shetland last year. Back along the main path, the Bewick's swan was showing again on the freshmarsh. A Siberian Chiffchaff that had been seen south of Island Hide at Titchwell, bleeped up on the pager, when I was only a matter of yards from the location! There were no other birders around, so this must have been seen earlier in the morning. I spent a while trying to track it down, but with no luck.

Walked along the Fen trail and along the 'tank road' I watched Chaffinches and a single smart Brambling feeding, along with three Blackbirds. Other birds seen in this area: 2 Reed Buntings, Long-tailed Tits, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Marsh Harrier, Gadwall and Little Grebe.

Back at my car, I had some lunch and then headed to Holme village car park for a late ramble. Just as I pulled up in the car park 15 Bewick's Swans flew over my head!!! Wow, what a sight! I walked across the grassy car park and across the little bridge that leads up to the coastal footpath – here I watched another 22 Bewick's Swans fly over 'The Saltings' calling!!! Magical! Aside from a few Blackbirds, nothing else was seen. Returned to my car and headed home.

Fell asleep on the sofa and later on watched the results of 'Strictly'........ Bill Bailey got through and will dance with Oti in next week's quarter finals! Go Bill!!!

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