Although it is still only the last week in July, in birding terms it is now the start of autumn passage and time for a visit to Titchwell. First stop was the Island Hide but unfortunately, although the conditions and water levels just outside the hide were good, there were very few birds close in apart from the compulsory Avocets. At least, now that the breeding season is over and their young are fully grown, they are less aggressive to other birds.
Moving further along the footpath to the beach an adult Sedge Warbler obviously had young in the grassy bank as it was fairly confiding, although semi-hidden most of the time. However, towards the end it did show itself for a few seconds allowing a couple of shots to be taken.
We then came to the star of the show, a female Garganey that had been entertaining the crowds for most of the week by continually feeding just yards away from the bank. This is so unusual as they are normally distant and spend most of their time asleep. At the other end of the spectrum is the Black-tailed Godwit which, at Titchwell at least, is more than happy to feed in front of a row of cameras.
Also feeding in the same area was this male Ruff which falls into the middle category. They are very active for most of the day but, unlike the godwits, will not normally venture closer than 40 yards.
At that moment a couple of Wood Sandpipers flew in and started to feed in front of the reed-lined bank that leads to the Parrinder Hide. Unfortunately, they disappeared as I was making my way down there. While we were waiting for them to re-appear, a small party of juvenile Little Ringed Plovers were running around on the mud along with some Pied Wagtails and Meadow Pipits. Still no sign of the woods so on to the beach.
I was a little surprised that no attempt had been made to repair the boardwalk so we followed the detour through the dunes and once on the beach I was rather taken aback. For not only were there relatively few people on the beach but absolutely no waders at all, which must be a first for me in over 30 years. On our way back we came to the old pill-box nestled just behind the dunes which was obviously home to a family of Swallows, as one of the adults was keeping sentry on a nearby post.
And to round off yet another fantastic day at Titchwell the Wood Sandpipers had re-appeared in exactly the same spot along the Parrinder Hide bank of the freshmarsh. Unfortunately they were keeping their distance and were a little flighty which actually provided some good photo opportunities.
What a fantastic place!!