Monday, 10 October 2016

Another Titchwell Visit

 With the east coast heaving with scarce and rare birds all week, thanks to an easterly airflow from the furthest reaches of Siberia it was inevitable that Colin and I would head there on Saturday. Most of the really good stuff was of course up in Shetland, but  there had been loads of goodies at places like Spurn as well and  there was also a lot of really interesting birds in Scandinavia and the Low countries. Conditions haven't been this good for many years so the big decision was where and when.
 It looked like a really safe bet would be north Norfolk, around the Wash .  It would pretty much guarantee something and we would be fairly well placed for Lincolnshire through to the Suffolk coast. So Titchwell it was.
 We drove straight there with no detours and arrived around 9am, finding an already pretty full car park. The northeaster-lies were good, there had been overnight showers and it was overcast. Classic conditions.
Robins were ticking in the car park, Goldcrests were all over the place so things were looking good. We were told that there were at least four Yellow Browed Warblers around and a few minutes later on the path beyond the centre produced a calling bird, but deep in the woodland. We quickly carried on to the fresh marsh in order to see the Pectoral Sandpiper-having missed it last week we were lucky it was still around, but unfortunately was some way out on the big island. One or two Little Stints were still present as well, including a slightly odd plumaged individual which aroused some interest later when the images were posted on social media.
 A bit further on the brackish marsh around half a dozen Curlew Sandpipers were feeding. Everywhere we looked we could see Meadow Pipits and many were also passing over. A slightly different call alerted me to a Tree Pipit, and shortly after someone called out a Rock Pipit going over.
The sea was comparatively quiet this time (famous last words) with a few Gannets and Bonxies generally far out, plus a few small flocks of Brent geese moving through.
 We didn't stay long as the yesterday's Red Breasted Flycatcher had been reported again on the approach road so headed back, bumping into Ron Cousins at the start of the Fen Trail.  There was a female Pied Flycatcher here which took a while to find but posed quite well. Ron was heading for the Pec Sand but decided to try for the Red Breasted Flycatcher with us. Unfortunately it had not been seen for some time though another Pied Fly was present and the rather large crowd was causing a few problems on the road, as the approaching coach driver found out. We stayed a while but eventually returned to the car for a coffee-the car park being just as good a place to locate the Flycatcher.

After a break I dumped a lot of the gear as it was warming up and the scope was getting a bit heavy and we hit the Fen and East trail. Didn't take all that long to pick up and see a Yellow Browed Warbler feeding actively and fighting off some of the more aggressive Goldcrests. One or two Bramblings were also around in the low trees by the feeders.

Failed to locate the long staying Redstart on the tank road, but a spell by the gate looking into the nearby horse filed was very productive. More Bramblings were flying in and out of the hedge, along with Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Greenfinches. Lots of Blackbirds were also coming and going with at least one Ring Ousel, and Song Thrushes were flying over all the time.
Unfortunately the trail further on overlooking the Brancaster Marshes didn't seem to produce much apart from a few Bearded Tits and it was clear from the dropping winds and sunshine that things were starting to quieten down so after some thought we decided to call it a day having spent a good five hours here. There didn't seem to be a great deal happening elsewhere-Burnham Overy had a few things which seemed to be a lot of hard work, and the news from Holkham and Wells wasn't good either with the Raddes Warbler not being seen since early morning.
We were about an hour away from the coast when I got a garbled pager message of a Black Browed Albatross going north past Hunstanton. Colin thought about turning round but we had no idea where or when it would be picked up. Apparently it was seen an hour later off Scolt Head for ten minutes and then late afternoon it was back off Hunstanton having not been seen at Holme or Titchwell. Judging by later reports very few people-even those stationed on the Huntsaton cliffs saw it. Even more annoying, a Siberian Stonechat was found on Sunday at Thornham Point, and was there were suggestions that it might have been a Stejneger's (the first one on Portland a few years ago, the second  at Landguard on Friday).

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