Welcome to the latest recent sightings blog from Titchwell Marsh. After a never-ending winter the summer sun has finally arrived bringing with it an eruption of damselflies and dragonflies and butterflies including wall browns, orange tips and painted ladies.

Car Park / Visitor Centre

The usual suspects have been around the car park and visitor centre but a couple of cetti’s warblers and a reed warbler have been blasting their song close to our office windows.

The odd siskin and lesser redpoll have been heard flying over and a garden warbler continues to be heard.

Cetti's warbler, Les Bunyan

Reedbed / Patsy’s reedbed / East Trail

The first three marsh harrier chicks have fledged, this is exceptionally early, so it will be a couple more weeks before the rest fledge and take to the sky. 

The bittern continues to boom faintly, excitingly a second bittern was seen very early one morning which provides more evidence that we do have a pair. This is fantastic news as it has been several years since bitterns have bred on the reserve.

Up to two great white egrets are regularly flying over the reedbed and appearing on Patsy’s or the skulking about on the reedbed pool.

Within the reedbed pool great crested grebes and little grebes can be seen along with pochard, gadwall and shoveler. Though the number of broods of ducklings is very low so far.

The warmth and the fledging of the first brood means that bearded tits are more visible along the west bank path. Along here there are a couple of sedge warblers that like to show off their song. Behind the sea wall on the Thornham side a grasshopper warbler was heard reeling late Sunday night. However, it was two rose-coloured starlings that captured everyone’s attention last Wednesday morning appearing with a flock of starlings. There has been an influx of these birds to the UK and they do take a fancy to fatballs so do watch your garden feeders.

Up to two turtle doves have been seen by visitors on the tank road and we snatched a small sound of one purring during one of our team briefings last week, though they do continue to remain elusive.

Other highlights in this area include lesser whitethroats, hobby and a yellow wagtail.

Marsh harrier, Les Bunyan

Freshmarsh

A pair of marsh harriers are doing their best to cause havoc on the Freshmarsh as they across in search of food for their hungry chicks.

During the week we have had a couple of wood sandpiper sightings first thing in the morning and in the evenings single counts of ruff and common sandpiper. Over the weekend wader numbers increased with 104 avocet, 98 black-tailed godwit, 4 little ringed plovers, a curlew sandpiper and the first spotted redshank of the ‘autumn.’ This spotted redshank is likely to have already been to its breeding grounds this year and is heading south again.

A pair of redshanks have brought their chick across onto the Freshmarsh and so far, it is doing well sheltering amongst the reeds.

A careful scan of the base of the reeds closest to the reedbed and you can find a water rail or two skulking amongst the reeds.

Several common terns and the odd little tern pop onto the Freshmarsh and on 12/6 a little gull joined them.

Spotted redshank, Les Bunyan

Volunteer Marsh / Tidal Marsh

On Tidal Marsh, a pair of ringed plovers and a little ringed plover can be found along with a couple of turnstones, oystercatchers and avocets. A handful of black-headed gulls have been attempting to nest on the vegetated islands, though they didn’t appear to be having much success when I looked on Sunday.

On volunteer marsh several pairs of redshank are wandering amongst the saltmarsh vegetation. Shelduck, shoveler and gadwall can be found bobbing along the water filled creeks, including a brood of shelducks doing their best to look like humbugs.

Turnstone, Les Bunyan

Beach / The Sea

It is all go on the beach for the breeding ringed plovers. We are delighted to have two broods of chicks scurrying along the sand. These little fluff balls are very independent and keep their parents on their toes. However, they are extremely vulnerable to predation and trampling so please keep your distance if you hear ringed plovers calling or acting distressed.

Over the past week we have seen a flurry of oystercatchers finally laying theirs eggs on the beach, with at lease 4 pairs. Again, please keep your distance from the birds as they incubate their eggs.

A few sanderlings have been scurrying along the waters edge, but the majority of other beach using waders have finally migrated back to their breeding grounds.

On the sea sandwich, common and little terns can regularly be watched diving for fish with fulmars drifting past.  

Ringed plover incubating chicks, Les Bunyan

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