With the winter showing signs of making way for spring and still a number of wintering visitors in residence we paid one of our regular visits to the Titchwell RSPB reserve. On this occasion we decided to take a quick look along the East Trail to the Fen Hide, just in case the kingfishers that are often around this time of the year were feeding. Unfortunately although they had been seen around the reserve there was no sign of them today. However the hide did provide an opportunity to get some good images and observe some interesting behavior of a pair of swans and mallards who seem to have taken up residence on the newly cut reed bed.

Mute Swan at Titchwell RSPB reserve


Mute Swan

Female Mallard


Female Mallard

On the way back along the meadow trail we were intrigued to find out what was producing the strange sounds. The answer was well over 50 frogs plus a few toads mating and producing masses of spawn, a sure sign of Spring.

 

 

Frogs spawning


Some of the 50+ Frogs spawning

The West Bank At Titchwell

Back on the path along the West Bank the numbers of birders brought out by the good weather was increasing. A large number of whom were looking for the resident water rail that inhabits the ditch alongside the path. To start with no Water Rail but great views of a Common Snipe probing the mud. After watching the snipe for about 10 minutes the water rail put in a fleeting appearance.

Common Snipe

Common Snipe


Common Snipe

Further along the path where the reed beds had been cut back there had been a Bittern regularly sighted over the past few days, but there was no sign of it today.

Brent Geese


Brent Geese

 The water level further along the path on the fresh marsh was much lower than it had been  in previous weeks. There were a few remaining Brent Geese gathering presumably preparing to fly off to their summer breeding grounds. The Avocets numbers now seem to be on the increase many of them already showing signs of pairing up. One of the reserves volunteers was kind enough to point out two gulls in among the Avocets, one of which was a Mediterranean Gull, identifiable with its black head and white wing tips.

Common Red shank


Common Red shank

Ruff in winter plumage


Ruff in winter plumage

The Volunteer Marsh produced a number of waders feeding in the mud including Bar-tailed Godwit,Knot, Dunlin, Wintering Ruff and Redshank. A number of Curlew were visible in the distance.

Dunlin


Dunlin

Bar-tailed Godwit


Bar-tailed Godwit

On To The Beach At Titchwell

The beach is often one of the best locations on the reserve to observe the birds. On the tidal pools that form at low tide there were a couple of Black-tailed Godwits, Curlews, Oystercatchers, Little Egret, plus Sanderling and Knot.

Curlew


Curlew

Little Egret


Little Egret

After spending some time working along the tidal pools we returned to the Visitors’ Centre where had a good view of red kites flying overhead as we ate lunch. After lunch we returned to the East trail hoping to get better views of the Marsh harriers. We were rewarded at the end of the trail with views of four male marsh harriers displaying. As we walked back a Buzzard flew over the wooded area and small flocks of long tailed tits darted noisily along the hedgerow.

Male Marsh Harrie


Male Marsh Harrier

On the way back to the Visitor’s centre we stopped to see if the water rail was visible. As we were looking in the ditch a barn owl appeared in the field beside the west trail and quartered the area before sitting on a fence post. It took to the air again and dropped from the sky into the rough grass before reappearing and heading back across the fields, plus the Water Rail put in an appearance at the same time.

Water Rail


Water Rail

Water Rail


Water Rail