Sunday, 17 June 2018

Seasonal Confusion

Saturday morning and in deference to my family tired after a busy week of work, school and after school activities I haven't set my alarm this morning, nonetheless I wake early and slip quietly out of bed and gather my birding kit together for the short drive to Titchwell. 

The first bird that I see as I turn off the A149 into Titchwell Marsh is a Barn Owl briefly gliding across the entrance track, a nice start to my visit.

The reserve is empty with just one other car in the car park, I start my usual early morning circuit heading down the meadow trail for a quick look at Patsy's Pool before heading back around the Boardwalk hoping for some flowering spikes of Marsh Orchids, there  are none, but lots of Ragged Robin and Yellow Flag Iris and it is great to hear and see a couple of Cuckoos as they chase each other around the reedbed and scrub. 

Curlew Sandpiper, Titchwell Marsh
I'd forgotten it was a big tide this morning and it is a pleasant surprise as I approach the Fresh Marsh that the first birds I see are a flock of Dunlin and the first bird in my binoculars field of view is a Curlew Sandpiper just moulting out of its breeding plumage. The Dunlin are great all chestnut brown backs and inky black bellies, I'm never sure at this time of year if the waders are on a late trip north or an early journey south, autumn or spring? Five black summer plumaged Spotted Redshank's add to the value and I have a quick scan and count of the mixed flock of winter plumaged Bar and Black Tailed Godwit, whilst a Greenshank fly's over calling.

Pyramidal Orchid
The fenced predator proof area is a noisy "chaos" of Black Headed and Med Gulls and I find three Little Gulls sitting on the edge of an island. It is good too to see Common, Little and Sandwich Terns here.Whilst a couple of wing pricked Pink Footed Geese walk across the marsh and add to the seasonal confusion is it Spring, Summer, autumn or winter?

Male Kestrel
In the afternoon we decide on a family to the Beach Hut at Brancaster, here we have a walk through the dunes get great views of a hunting male Kestrel and flowering spikes of Pyramidal Orchids which are nicely framed by the yellow flowers and dun coloured seed cases of Yellow Rattle.  On the next door beach hut a pair of Swallows are nesting under the eaves, last year it was a pair of Pied Wagtails and the year before that Swallows. We keep as much distance from the birds as we can so that they can make visits to their nest and I try my luck with some flight photography using a ancient lens and decrepit DSLR body whilst perched in a  Directors Chair.


A great day.