Sunday, 4 August 2019

Crab on the menu

We are in the middle of a series of big spring tides at the moment. This morning I walked along the West Bank Path at Titchwell, the Fresh Marsh to my east stuffed full of migrating Shorebirds including half a dozen delicate Wood Sandpipers delicately picking insects from the surface of the shallow lagoon. Out in the middle of the Fresh Marsh 14 Spoonbills were doing what Spoonbills seem to like to do best, sleeping. 

Wood Sandpiper, Titchwell Marsh
To my west was the expanse of saltmarsh that lies between Titchwell and Thornham Harbour, the incoming tide creating pools that reflected the bright blue August sky and which were rimmed by the purple flowers of Sea Lavender. A Curlew picked its way through this salty meadow and I paused to take a photo that would capture the bird and its high summer home. 

Curlew, Titchwell Marsh
As I watched the Curlew caught a crab in the tangle of submerged vegetation and held it firmly at the end of its long down curved bill, I wondered how it would manage to transfer the small crustacean, which was frantically and ineffectually waving it's limbs, down into its stomach. Several times it managed to manoeuvre the crab half way up its bill before having to start again as the crab wiggled back towards the tip of the bill and survival. Then with one last effort the Curlew suddenly had the crab at the top of it mouth and then it was gone, still wriggling down its throat. 

Curlew, Titchwell Marsh
The Cormorants in the dead trees in the reedbed by Patsy's Pool sat still in the early morning warmth their black feathers presumably exacerbating for the them the warmth of the rising summer sun. 

Cormorant, Titchwell Marsh