Leader and Reporter: Chris Stone
6 Wensum valley members including myself met in the car park at 8.30 am on a damp windy morning.
I told them the plan for the day and that our target was 80 species for the day - a high target but that was the challenge. We walked through the picnic area as the rain was getting harder, and through to the visitor’s centre.
A RSPB staff member came out and told us what was about. He mentioned not a lot, just the usual stuff on the fresh marsh, but had heard a Yellow
browed Warbler with the tit flock along the boardwalk. So that’s where we went - the rain had eased off. We had a tit flock, quite a few in fact, going through the bushes and trees. Blue Tits, Great Tits, Long-tailed Tits but no Yellow-browed in that flock, so we carried on towards Patsy’s Pool . As we were walking through, a piping call of a Bullfinch was heard, and
Chiffchaffs were calling too. We skipped Fen Hide as it usually has nothing there. As we walked past, a Cetti’s Warbler started singing. There wasn’t much else along here, so we went to the screen at Patsy’s Pool where we had waders and ducks on the pool, and over the reedbed we had a Marsh Harrier flying around. We moved on from there, walking towards the East Trail, and as we walked along, House and Sand Martins were flying over, and a Sparrowhawk was going along the hedgerow. There we also had a Swallow too. Along the East Trail the dead trees had Cormorants in, looking prehistoric sitting there, and a Heron flew out of the reed bed. As we approached the southeast corner of the fresh marsh, we had waders and wildfowl with Bearded Tits in the reed bed pinging away, and one showed in the breezy conditions for all of us to have a look at, but some weren’t quick enough before it flew off. 14 Spoonbills flew over us from the West. After about an hour, we headed back around the way we had
come towards the main path. We weren’t getting any new species for our list, just the same as on our outward journey, but the same or another sparrowhawk flew past us. Along the bird walk at the junction, we did a right turn towards the main path. Listening and looking for new
birds there, it was good for the less experienced members of the group to get used to calls of different birds too. We came to the junction of the boardwalk and the main path - it was sheltered from the wind here, with plenty of birds here; Treecreepers were added to our list.
After we had all seen them, we headed along the main path and on the big pool in the reed bed was a Pochard. The fresh marsh looked pretty quiet from Island Hide, just a few ducks, so we carried on to Parrinder Hide where we could get out of the breeze. As we looked, most of the waders were asleep and tucked away from the wind behind the islands, mainly Avocets and godwits. After an hour here, some of us were getting thirsty and hungry so we headed back to the picnic area for lunch.
After a 40-minute lunch break we were back on it. Rumours were heard that there was a Pied Flycatcher at the board walk, so we walked round to see if we could find it. It was hard work with so many trees to look through, and time was getting with on high tide was a 14.00, so a
dash to the beach it was. It wasn’t a really high tide - it barely touched the brickwork. It was a little choppy with an offshore breeze, so we got in behind the dunes with our ‘scopes. Waders on the beach included Sanderling, Oystercatchers and Bar-tailed Godwits, and ducks were
mainly Teal and Wigeon, with Gannets further out flying past. We had couple of Red- throated Divers, Great Crested Grebes, a flock of Pink- footed Geese flew over. After an hour we walked back, and someone shouted that Brent Geese were flying past - there were 4 of them going
Back over the dunes, and on the main path an elderly couple with a mobility scooter had broken down - we couldn’t leave them stranded there. So, it was the Wensum Valley team to the rescue, and pushed the elderly lady and her scooter back to the car park. It was hard work, but they were very grateful for us helping them out. When we got back to the courtyard,
we were on 78 species for the day, we needed 2 more. So, with time against us, we walked back to Patsy's Pool for Sedge or Reed warbler and knowing that birds like to have a bath there too, we could get lucky. Sitting there, some gulls came in and we had another to add to our list - a Lesser Blacked-backed Gull. One more for the 80. We were all looking, and I just
happened to look up and saw a wader flying towards us. As it came over us it called, it was a Golden Plover. Yes, we had got 80 for the day, but I wasn’t stopping there! As we walked back, some went to get a drink and I had a quick look over towards Thornham where I saw a Red Kite for the day. I walked back and told the rest that we had got 81 species for the day. The day was coming to an end, so we sat down, had a drink, and talked about the day we had.
It was a pleasure to take the group around RSPB Titchwell where I volunteer. Everyone enjoyed their day, even it was a little windy.
Species seen 81
Swallow, black-headed gull , reed bunting, sandwich tern, pink-footed goose, cormorant, barnacle goose, kittiwake, meadow pipit, linnet, dunlin, great blacked-backed gull, pigeon, Cetti’s warbler, little egret, brent goose, snipe, swan, lesser black-backed gull, robin, greylag goose, treecreeper, golden plover, goldfinch, tufted duck, pochard, red kite, wren, ruff, kingfisher, blackbird, sand martin, pied wagtail, chaffinch, curlew, redshank, collared dove, little grebe, kestrel, long-tailed tit , jackdaw, common tern , blue tit, house martin, gadwall, chiffchaff, sparrowhawk, coal tit, great tit, hobby, siskin, magpie, heron, knot, jay, starling, pintail, bullfinch, avocet, oystercatcher, moorhen, shelduck, common scoter, lapwing,
shoveler, turnstone, marsh harrier, widgeon, gannet, dunnock, herring gull, bar-tailed godwit, coot, common gull, great crested grebe , mallard, bearded tit, red-throated diver, black-tailed godwit, spoonbill, sanderling
Other: red admiral, migrant hawker, muntjac, common darter, common seal.
Please feel free to read through our reports from our monthly outdoor meetings.