Part two of a day out with Keith where we visited RSPB Frampton Marsh in Lincolnshire and RSPB Titchwell Marsh in Norfolk.
After an excellent three hours or so at Frampton, and the obligatory cup of coffee, it was time to move on to our next destination...the magnificent RSPB reserve at Titchwell.
Thanks to excellent chauffeuring by Keith, 53 miles and 1 3/4 hours later we arrived in the rather busy (it usually is!) Titchwell car park.
A short walk to the visitor centre shop to check the sightings board to see what was about and as is normal when you're in a crowded area I kept hearing snippets of conversations and the two words that kept being mentioned were Barn Owl! Anyway, on through the shop and back outside to check to see what birds were coming to the feeding station (not many as it happens!) and there it was again!... someone mentioned Barn Owl "just there, sitting on a fence post" No! it couldn't be, it's one o'clock in the afternoon Barn Owls don't come out at this time of day?... Oh yes they do!...a quick walk, of the twenty or so yards, in the direction of the pointing fingers and we were just in time to see a beautiful Barn Owl lift off from the fence post and give us a short fly by before disappearing behind the trees and out of sight!...a truly wonderful few minutes, and just to add to the moment, a guy standing close by then called out Stonechat! and, sure enough, we were all soon watching a (distant) pair of Stonechats as they kept flitting from the ground up into some bramble bushes...and in the far distance a Hen Harrier was hunting over the reed beds.... the day just got a whole lot better!
We decided to forgo visiting the hides for the time being and instead to make our way along the main path that leads to the beach.
|As always the path was rather busy!|
There were lots of other birds and waterfowl around and we were soon able to see, amongst the usual candidates Shelduck, Avocet, Shoveler, a single Greenshank and lots of Curlew and Redshank.
The next big surprise was seeing the large flock of Golden Plover (circa 4000 according to the sightings board!) resting on the islands in front of the main hide and what a beautiful sight as they intermittently took to the air and sparkled and glittered in the sunlight just like golden confetti.
|Just a small fraction of the Golden Plover in front of the Parrinder Hide|
On past the hide and onto the next lagoon and another big surprise.. a beautiful pair of Pintail were 'showing' right up close to the path seemingly unconcerned by the amount of people passing by just a few feet away!
|A stunning male Pintail|
|And a Black Headed Gull saying "I may not be as beautiful as a Pintail but look, I can jump on water"|
Out onto the beach now and for once the wind wasn't blowing a gale, and we weren't getting sandblasted, as is normally the case here!
|The clubhouse for the Royal West Norfolk Golf Club across the water at Brancaster|
Here we saw Oystercatcher, Turnstone and Sanderling 'working' the strand line looking for something nice to eat.
|This 'friendly' Black Headed Gull followed us along the beach and was never more than a couple of yards away.|
On the way back to the hides we had a fleeting glimpse of a Water Rail as it quickly disapeared back into the undergrowth and eagle eyed Keith did it again and spotted a couple of Snipe on the edge of a distant island ( he's got a knack when it comes to spotting Snipe!!)
|Even I could see this one as it posed right in front of the hide window!|
Keith also located a flock of Twite as they flew across the water to a far bank.
We were into the late afternoon now and the sun was beginning to set and it was time to make our way back to the car for a final cup of coffee and the long journey home.
It was a very successful and enjoyable day with 41 different species seen here making a grand total of 57 different species for the day and with 25 of them being new year ticks, and one life tick (the Twite), it was truly...A Mega Day Out.