Monday, 14 January 2013

A Trip to Titchwell

Titchwell is a mecca for bird photography as not only are there a large selection of species to see but they can be quite close, whether from a hide, the path to the beach or even on the beach itself. Stuart and I rolled into the already crowded car park at 10.30am on a beautiful sunny day with wall-to-wall blue sky and a stiff southwesterly breeze.

First stop today was the newly opened East Trail, which runs from the Fen Hide along the southern edge of Patsy's Pool, obviously some female competition to Pat's Pool at Cley Marshes. Unfortunately, the Red-necked Grebe that had been present for a few days had departed but the resident female Red-crested Pochard was showing well in the middle of the lake and wing-flapped on cue.

We took a short-cut to the path to the beach via the Meadow Trail and, as we emerged from behind a Sallow, were confronted with a female Marsh Harrier that was wafting across the reed bed. I am not sure who was the more startled. Luckily I was able to rattle off a few shots before it banked away and headed for the safety of the reserve.

The water levels on the fresh-marsh were predictably high and therefore there were no birds in front of the Island Hide, so we pressed on along the path to the beach. Despite the high water, there were a couple of spits just showing above water and Lapwings and Golden Plover were taking advantage of them for a roost site. Lapwings and Golden Plover are, however, very jumpy and every time a remotely-looking bird of prey goes over they take to the air, returning after the perceived danger has passed.

Also on the fresh-marsh were a number of Shoveler, the males starting to look resplendent in their new breeding plumage, and time had to be taken out from feeding to keep their feathers in tip-top condition.

Further along on the brackish-marsh the usual Little Grebes were diving in one of the channels close to the path, affording some outstanding opportunities. I now have a cupboard full of Little Grebe shots but can never resist taking some more of these little puff-balls.

One of the advantages of the path to the beach is that it gets a lot of traffic from birds flying from the fresh-marsh to Thornham salt-marsh and back again. So basically all you need to do is wait with camera in hand, set on a fast shutter speed. Today it was the turn of a pair of Brent Geese which obligingly flew low, providing a land background rather than sky as this shows the colours better. Black-headed Gulls are a also a safe bet.

And finally, out on Thornham salt-marsh were the usual array of Little Egrets, Redshank, Brent Geese and a lone Curlew.

And now to get blown away on the this space.

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