Welcome to another edition of our sightings blog which this week also covers our monthly Wetland Bird Count.

East Trail and Patsy’s Screen

A walk along the hedgerow this weekend revealed lesser whitethroats, common whitethroats and sedge warblers. The subtle call of the bullfinch and the wheeze of a greenfinch can be heard. On Patsy’s there is a plethora of brown ducks, many of which are in their eclipse phase, whereby the males have lost their fine breeding plumage. A careful scan revealed pochards, gadwalls, shovelers and mallards. There has been a noticeable increase in coot numbers with 37 counted on Monday. If you are lucky one of the great white egrets may have dropped in.

Meadow / Fen Trail

Walking back along the boardwalk chiffchaffs and reed warblers continue to sing whilst a green woodpecker and a great spotted woodpecker have also been reported. Small flocks of crossbill continue to be heard flying over at random points during the morning. 


Floating across the reedbed are the marsh harriers, with the youngsters continuing to learn to fly and hunt. The pools reveal a large great crested grebe chick and a tufted duck continues to have two of her now large ducklings by her side. The bearded tits have made fleeting appearances, so do listen out for their ‘ping-ping-ping’ call.

Young marsh harrier, Les Bunyan


There is certainly plenty to scan through on the Freshmarsh. Most noticeable are the 16 spoonbills which spend their days sleeping at the back. As waders are migrating through their numbers do fluctuate daily. A wood sandpiper briefly touched down on Sunday morning, whilst there are a few knot and dunlin walking around the feet of the black-tailed godwits. Duck numbers are beginning to increase, and a careful scan has revealed an eclipse garganey.

Spoonbill, Phill Gwilliam

Tidal Marsh

An incredibly smart summer plumage grey plover was sighted this weekend, along with 50+ oystercatchers, a few turnstones and dunlin.

The Beach and Sea

Ringed plovers are still sitting on eggs so do give the rope cordons a wide berth. Along the tide line sanderling numbers have increased. At low tide curlews join the oystercatchers to feed on the mussel beds. A yellow-legged and Caspian gull have also been recorded on the beach. Whilst on the sea little, common and sandwich terns continue to be seen whilst a couple of gannets have been fishing close to the shore, which is quite an impressive sight.

As you can see there is plenty of variety across the reserve. Below is the total count of ducks and waders as part of our Wetland Bird Count.

Summary of the Wetland Bird Survey count on Monday 27/7/2020

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See you Soon

Lizzie Bruce

NW Norfolk Reserves Warden