20th September 2013
Today is my last visit to Titchwell this Autumn, in the hope of photographing waders close in front of the Island Hide. I was really hopeful as I approached the hide because the water level was low, with acres of mud right in front of the hide. Surprisingly, the only waders close by were a couple of Ruff which I hastily photographed to ensure I got something in the camera. Just as well, as seconds later a Hobby flew across low over the water putting everything up including the Ruff.
Duck numbers were building up heralding the advent of winter and a number of Teal were dabbling close to the path. At this time of the year they are all in eclipse plumage and therefore all look like females.
Further along the path on the new saltwater lagoon was a very obliging Black-tailed Godwit, which frequently took a break from feeding to adjust those all-important feathers. Compared to the Bar-tailed Godwit, the Black-tailed Godwit has longer legs particularly the tibia (above the knee joint), a long straight bill and a much more uniform colouration on the back. In flight it has a black band on the tail and a conspicuous wing-bar. For photos of a Bar-tailed Godwit, see the forthcoming post on Titchwell Beach.
But then came the biggest surprise of the day. From over the sea came a large bird being followed by two much smaller birds. I assumed that it was a VIP flight as the large airliner was being escorted by two RAF Tornado jets, but a quick phone call to chum and aircraft expert John Onion revealed that it was in fact an RAF VC10 tanker/transporter which had been retired from service a week ago and was touring RAF sites accompanied by the Tornados. Didn't expect that. Now on to the beach.
For better reproduction of my photos, see my photo gallery at flickr.com/photos/seymourbirdies