Recent sightings: 26 April – 3 May 2021

The cold, northerly wind has continued to be the current theme at Titchwell and much of the Norfolk coast so spring migration is quite slow with low numbers of summer migrants to be found However you can still expect to record over 80 species before 9am.

Car Park / Visitor Centre

Arriving in the car park you will be greeted with the continued variable song of the blackcap, with the odd chiff chaff and willow warbler. On the bird feeders you can expect to find the usual suspects, blue tits, great tits, chaffinch, greenfinch and goldfinch. Over head small flocks of siskins, lesser redpolls and linnets pass through along with small numbers of yellow wagtails, sand martins, house martins and swallows. The blackbirds and song thrushes are busy feeding their young and the odd mistle thrush have also been recorded.

Blackbirds, Les Bunyan

Reedbed / Patsy’s / East Trail

The reedbed soundtrack is slowing building as the Cetti’s warblers and sedge warblers have been joined by the reed warblers. Bearded tits are remaining quite secretive, no doubt because of this cold weather. The bittern continues to boom on a regular basis and sightings are starting to become more frequent, though it does remains elusive. Up to four great white egrets have been counted within the reedbed, demonstrating the growth of this species in the UK.

On the 25 April 3 green sandpipers, a common sandpiper and a Jack snipe were recorded on Patsy’s, also on here are pochard, gadwall and tufted ducks though the red crested pochard are rarely seen.

Common sandpiper, Les Bunyan

Along the East Trail a grasshopper warbler has been heard reeling in the scrub for the past 10 days. The first lesser whitethroat of 2021 arrived on the 28 April to join the already arrived common whitethroats.


As we leave April and head into May, the water levels are lowered in readiness for the spring arrival of waders.

Last week a kittiwake was spotted amongst the black-headed gulls and Mediterranean gulls inside the predator fence. The first common terns of 2021 were sighted on 28 April and a few sandwich terns continue to drop in along with up to several common sandpipers.

Common tern, Les Bunyan

On today’s WeBS count we recorded 24 Avocet, 2 little ringed plovers, 2 turnstones, 4 oystercatchers, 12 gadwall, 15 teal, 21 shelduck, 6 shoveler, 4 sandwich terns and 24 brent geese. Earlier in the morning a Temminck’s stint touched down before flying off east.

Volunteer / Tidal Marsh

Most of the waders decided to not make an appearance for today’s WeBS counts but over the past week there are have been about 100 Knot, small numbers of bar-tailed godwits, dunlin, turnstones, grey plovers and non-breeding oystercatchers.

Thornham saltmarsh

Scanning across the saltmarsh small numbers of brent geese remain. Two spoonbills have been dropping in to feed in the creeks alongside the little egrets. Curlew, whimbrel and redshank can also be looked for and a second grasshopper warbler can be heard reeling.

Spoonbill, Les Bunyan

The real highlight was a white spotted bluethroat that was found by a pair of visitors on Saturday 17th April and remained until the 19th April though it was very secretive, with only a few lucky people catching a glimpse of it.

Beach / Sea

On the beach there are several pairs of ringed plovers displaying to one another, but they haven’t yet layed any eggs. Along the waters edge are a small number of sanderlings, oystercatchers and turnstones.

The sea is generally quiet at this time of year though we have started to see the first of the little terns fishing close in along with the sandwich terns. Over 3500 common scoter were counted on 3/5 and 7 velvet scoter we recorded on the 30 April.

Other highlights

Common cranes have flown over the reserve on a couple of occasions in recent weeks; these are likely to be non-breeding birds, who are just exploring the Norfolk coast. The odd ring ouzel has flown through and a whinchat was recorded on the 24 April.

Common crane, Les Bunyan

Hopefully this provides you with a flavour of what is about the reserve at the moment. If you do visit why not record you sightings on the BTO’s BirdTrack app, a convenient way for you to store your records and for your records to contribute to bird conservation.