Welcome to the latest installment of what is about at Titchwell Marsh.
As touched on in the previous sightings blog, autumn wader passage has begun. In a normal year we would be manipulate the water levels on a regular basis to create lots of muddy edges for the waders to feed upon. However, this year has been a challenge as we continue to suffer from high water levels because of the wet winter and spring. Until this weekend the warm weather has also been missing so water isn’t evaporating as quick either. This has created a bit of a headache for the reserve team.
On a positive note, there are plenty of waders on the reserve including a couple of rarities, but more on them later.
Reedbed / Patsy’s / East Trail
A walk along the eastern part of the reserve and you have an excellent chance of watching the marsh harriers and their young cruising over the reedbed. Four Great white egrets continue to be seen within the reedbed, for best views spend some time at Patsy’s screen.
A walk along to Patsy’s and the east trail is a great opportunity to admire a range of dragonflies zipping along the paths including black-tailed skimmers, common darter and emperor dragonfly.
Family groups of bearded tits are showing well, feeding on the mud, close to the reeds, near to island hide. Amongst the reeds it is great to see lots of recently fledged reed warblers and sedge warblers.
On reedbed pool and Patsy’s the ducks, especially the males, are starting to look a bit drab as the moult their fine feathers out. You can expect to see pochards, gadwall and tufted duck all with ducklings of various ages.
A grasshopper warbler was heard reeling to the west of the west bank path near the reedbed on 17/7.
Bearded tits, Les Bunyan
Over the past week avocet numbers continue to rise with 810 counted on 17/7 and 427 black-tailed godwits including several colour ringed individuals from WWT Welney. Other peak counts include 69 dunlin, 17 little ringed plovers, 35 redshanks (including one ringed in Portugal), 8 spotted redshanks, 4 common sandpipers, 8 knot, 1 green sandpiper, ruff, whimbrel, curlew, turnstones, oystercatchers, golden plovers, lapwings and ringed plovers. The two highlights have been a pectoral sandpiper on 13/7 but was chased off by the nesting avocets. This is the first pectoral sandpiper record for over three years so it was a welcome addition to the reserve year lists. A Pacific golden plover moved from RSPB Snettisham on the 16/7 but it too was chased off on the 17/7, this time by a great black-backed gull. This was just the second record for the reserve of this species. On the evening of the 17/7 a wood sandpiper appeared.
Pectoral sandpiper, Les Bunyan
A greenshank was on the Tidal marsh on 17/7.
Other bird highlights from the Freshmarsh include several spoonbills dropping in for a snooze and 2 Arctic skuas flew through chasing a yellow wagtail.
The evening gull roost is beginning to increase with a couple of yellow-legged gulls dropping in and 30 Mediterranean gulls including the first locally fledged youngster. Two little gulls have also been seen during the day.
Wood sandpiper, Les Bunyan
The first returning sanderlings have been spotted with a max count of 150. Other waders on the beach include dunlin, curlew, bar-tailed godwit and ringed plovers.
There are two ringed plover nests on the beach, this is their last chance saloon for this year, so please keep your distance from the cordon. Approaching the cordons disturbs the bird off its nest.
On the sea flocks of sandwich terns, little terns and common terns continue to be observed diving for fish. Several gannets have been cruising by close in along with the odd razorbill and fulmar. On the horizon flocks of common scoter can be counted.
If you are visiting why not enter your sightings on to BirdTrack. Your records support species conservation at local, regional, national and international scales. For more information follow the link https://www.bto.org/our-science/projects/birdtrack
Look forward to seeing you visit soon
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