Sunday, 21 July 2013

A Ruff Time at Titchwell

12th July 2013

Off to Titchwell again with Stuart to see what mid-summer had to offer, and the first sighting was a little unexpected. As we were scanning the saltmarsh for harriers and waders, we were not expecting......... a deer. Now, I am not a deer expert, as in Herts we only get Fallow Deer and Muntjac on a regular basis, although I have seen the odd Roe Deer and Red Deer elsewhere. But this individual was not instantly recognisable.

The size, large round ears and big black nose was reminiscent of a Roe Deer, but its fur was too pale and its snout too pointed, and we eventually found out that it was in fact a Chinese Water Deer. I have never seen these before, but for some reason was under the impression that they were smaller than Muntac, which is clearly not the case. It is probably a young male as you can just see the start of a tusk-like tooth.

The next bit of excitement was the arrival of eight Spoonbills. A few years ago this would have been a mega record, but they now breed at Holkham Freshmarsh along the coast so parties like this are becoming more and more common.

A little further along the beach path I noticed a gull fly in and start feeding about 30-40 yards away. There were also a few Black-headed Gulls with the same idea, but the smaller size of this individual gave it away as a Little Gull. Many people don't give gulls a second look so most people walked straight past, with the exception of those who were wondering what I was photographing so intently. Note the dainty black bill.


But the piece de resistance of the day was the wader which was feeding nearby, a male Ruff just moulting out of its breeding plumage. These stunning birds often get mistaken for Redshanks, due to their red legs.

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