Quick recap - up for a 3.30am start to visit Snettisham and witness the dawn flight of the Pinkies in horrible wet weather; full English; and at 9.30 it was on to Titchwell. We duly arrived and stepped out of the car at 10am to find that the weather had changed. Sadly it was in the wrong direction, from merely bad to atrocious! We could only feel for the two young volunteers sweeping leaves in the car park and the chap doing likewise in front of the Visitor Centre. I have to say that all three were creditably cheerful in the circumstances.
I took my camera with me more in hope than expectation, and can honestly say the conditions were the worst I have ever experienced for photography. In the circumstances I was pleasantly surprised by some of the results, but suffice to say what follows will win no awards!
Setting off down the West path we soon encountered a skein of Brent Geese approaching the freshwater marsh
No sooner had they passed than we had the thrill of two of the day's highlights simultaneously. First a magnificent pair of Marsh Harriers were seen quartering the marshland (sadly too distant to photograph in the gloom) then as we turned there was a Kestrel hovering on the other side of the path. This sadly was the best I could do.
On to Parrinder Hide - never seen anything like this, fantastic! - and on the freshwater side we met up again with our Brent friends
Brent and a Mallard pair walking on water
Greylags with an Avocet in the background
We also saw a Snipe but he was up and away too quickly to catch. On the saltwater side the highlight was a Curlew. There were two but one was incredibly well camouflaged on an island, the first time I've observed how well they can blend in to their environment. Fortunately the other was feeding openly
Returning to the West path to head for the beach we saw Little Grebe...
...and Black tailed Godwit
And so to the beach itself, where the conditions could only be described as bracing! The sea was pounding but after a quick game of Spot the Turnstone...
...we spent an entertaining few minutes watching the antics of a small group of Oystercatchers
and are these little fellers Sanderling?
Finally as we made our way off the beach we found our way barred by this confiding little Black head, who I swear lifted his leg in a begging pose.
We were left feeling very guilty that we had nothing to offer him!
And so back to base for coffee and a quite superb veggie curry in the cafe - where, Alan, I was able to spend the discount card you so kindly filled up for me at Old Moor! And pausing only to thank the guy who was still sweeping leaves outside the VC, and to be entertained by a tiny shrew running around the courtyard presumably looking for shelter, it was back to the car at around 2pm.
The least said about the journey home the better, save to say that our 2 1/2 hour outbound journey turned into a 4 1/2 hour return leg! But I wouldn't swap a minute of a day that will live long in the memory, and I'm determined to go back in better conditions!
Well Ian, what can I say to a brave but mad man except ... well done & sooo glad it was you & not me!!
Great set of pics which come across so much better than you think ... many thanks for my Kestrel & that dear little BHG is just the best, my favourite Gull especially in Winter plumage!
2013 photos & vids here
eff37 on Flickr
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