Wednesday 27 June 2012

Pacific Golden Plover revisited.

A return trip to Norfolk after the hitherto elusive Pacific Golden Plover was a case of second time lucky. The bird was on view when we arrived at the North Hide of Cley Marsh NNT reserve. Photographically that hide is not good as far as waders are concerned, the nearest bit of visible mud is already too far away from the hide for our limited equipment to get the results we would like, but enough moaning. The fact is, the bird was there if a little distant.
Pacific Golden Plover and Common Redshank
Pacific Golden Plover and Northern Lapwing
Pacific Golden Plover does not show the attenuated back end like an American
Golden Plover which has a long wing-projection. Although not sharp, one of
this bird's long tertials has been raised by the wind, showing it to be nearly as
long as the primaries.

The other interesting (not that they aren't all interesting) species was the Eurasian Spoonbill, that spent our entire stay asleep, as is typical of this species in my experience.
Eurasian Spoonbill

There were some summer plumage Dunlin, a Greenshank, lots of Redshank some Ringed Plovers and of course Lapwings. A little Gull put in a brief appearance loafing on the mud.
Dunlin, with single Common Redshank and Northern Lapwing

Greenshank with Black-headed Gulls
Elegant Pied Avocets in flight

A pair of Little Terns sat alongside a Sandwich Tern demonstarting the enormnous size difference.
Sandwich and Little Terns. Guess which are which!
Close to the hide a juvenile Pied Wagtail and a Meadow Pipit lurked in the undergrowth.
Pied Wagtail

Meadow Pipit
Mirroring the behaviour of the Willets we saw in the USA a Redshank sat atop a fence post despite the strong wind which had many species sheltering behind clumps of vegetation.
Common Redshank
The PGP bagged we had a quick lunch at the centre and went to look for Bearded Tits along the East Bank. We saw several and heard many more, and we also saw a Sacred Ibis. Obviously an escape and a bit far off, so not really that enthralling, but fun to see anyway. We also saw a couple of Little Egrets, it seems strange to think that not so long ago I twitched one of these they were so rare in the UK.
Male Bearded Tit
Sacred Ibis
Little Egret
Another bird that fails to excite is the feral Egyptian Goose. Don't get me wrong, they are attractive birds, but they really shouldn't be out on Arnold's Marsh.

Egyptian Geese

More typical of the avifauna of the north Norfolk marshes are the two Acrocephalus Warblers Sedge and Reed Warbler. The Sedge Warbler seemed to be collecting nesting material, plucking the reed heads.
Reed Warbler
Sedge Warbler
After this we then headed to one of our favourite spots, Titchwell. From a photographic perspective this place has more to offer the happy snapper, the mud and water coming right up to the hide allowing intimate photographs with pin sharp feather detail to be possible. Of course not all the birds oblige by coming that close, but there is always a chance.

Black-headed Gull

Eurasian Oystercatcher
Here we caught up with the Spotted Redshanks in summer garb, a truly lovely bird. Here are two of the six we saw.
Spotted Redshank
Spotted Redshank
A few Little Gulls were still in evidence from the other day.
Little Gull

Little Gull
We had a brief look ata female and a young Bearded Tit complementing the male we had at Cley.
Bearded Tits

We also watched the pack of Knot wheeling around above the marsh plucking up the courage to land. There are few more uplifting sights for me than these tiny birds in sychronised flight painting patterns in the sky, truly magical.
Red Knot over Titchwell Marsh
On the way home through the fields near Docking we stopped to admire this Corn Bunting, lacking in obvious beauty, its recent scarcity makes it a species to look out for.
Corn Bunting

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