Sunday, 23 February 2014

Thetford and RSPB Titchwell, Norfolk. Febuary 2013.

I decide to take a day trip to Norfolk with the intention of seeing the Black-bellied Dipper at Thetford then heading on to RSPB Titchwell. It was a very cold morning and after de-icing the car I headed off to Norfolk.

The day started off well when a hunting Barn Owl passed across the road right in front of me as I left home, I stopped to watch it quartering the roadside verge for a few minutes before it flew back across the road and in to a nearby wooded copse. I continued on soon spotting both Red Kite and Common Buzzard before reaching the motorway.

I arrived at Thetford and after parking the car I headed off over the bridge and towards the area the Black-bellied Dipper had been residing. A very short walk and I arrived to find the B-b Dipper sat on the opposite side of the small stream preening, to be honest it was probably one of the easiest birds I've ever been to see.
Black-bellied Dipper

Black-bellied Dipper
It wasn't long before it began feeding in the stream, it was quite approachable giving pretty good views as it continued along the stream. A few ropey digiscope attempts later and I decided to head off with the battery on my camera giving up due to the cold.

Black-bellied Dipper
A few miles from Tichwell I encountered a covey of Grey Partridge as they ran across the road in front of me, a good few flocks of both Fieldfare and Redwing were scattered across the countryside and a much larger flock of mixed Thrushes at the entrance to RSPB Titchwell.

At RSPB Titchwell I left the car park and headed in to the reserve, after paying in the visitor centre a Water Rail could be seen feeding in the ditch next to the path, I have seen them on previous visits in the same spot and stopped to watch it as it crept along the ditch before heading in to dense cover and out of sight.

I wandered out along the West Bank path heading to the sea deciding to start there and work my way back towards the hides and then back to the visitor centre to warm up from the brisk chill in the air. Arriving at he beach a hive of activity could be found on the shoreline, Sanderling, Knot, Dunlin, Turnstone, Grey Plover, Curlew, Bar and Black-tailed Godwit all on view. At sea Common Scoter, Eider, Long-tailed Duck and Goldeneye being the highlights.


While scanning the sea I picked up on a small flock of birds flying overhead, their calls almost being drowned out by the wind briskly blowing in off the sea. I watched as they continued their flight overhead and further along the beach before they dropped down in to the dunes, I was pretty sure they were Twite by the muffled calls that I had heard so grabbing my scope I walked along the dunes towards where they had landed. I approached carefully so not flush them and was rewarded with a flock of 14 Twite feeding amongst the dunes, I hadn't seen Twite for a few years so it was an added bonus to see them and at such close range.

The marshes held a good number of waders which included Avocet, Ruff, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank and Redshank to name a few and looking out across the fields to the west found Greylag, Brent and Egyptian Geese. A Red-crested Pochard showed well as did a passing female Sparrowhawk whilst watching the R-c Pochard. At the feeding station near the visitor centre Chaffinch, Brambling, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Linnet and Lesser Redpoll all were found on and around the vicinity of the feeders.


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