A Day at Titchwell Marsh
This year we’d had a long period of summer days that started with great lighting for photography but quickly deteriorated into poor flat light. Finally we had the promise of a few days of bright, warm weather with clear skies. Plus a predicted low tide early in the day that exposes some good wader feeding grounds on the beach, hence today’s visit to Titchwell Marsh.
The Beach Path at RSPB Titchwell Reserve
The ditch by the main path at this time of year is so over grown with vegetation that any sightings of the water rail are very rare. Although the pair that frequent the ditch have produced two young as there have been regularly reports of them being seen out on the marsh. Groups of birders were looking for sightings of a Bittern that had been seen earlier moving around the reed beds.
The freshwater marsh at the moment has a distinct lack of water but plenty of exposed mud. A number of Teal and juvenile Shelducks were feeding on the mud. A few Lapwings and Ruff, some already showing signs of winter plumage could be seen a little further out. Further out still, by one of the islands. some of the 15 spoonbills could be seen, all asleep.
Dotted out on the fresh water marsh other waders including groups of Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwits were feeding on the exposed mud. A visit to the directly opposite getting good shots proved to be challenging.
With the a morning low tide the Volunteer Marsh had virtually drained away, a few Avocets could be seen in the distance. We were hopeful that the waders had moved onto the beach. The tide was right out. exposing large areas of mussels beds and pools. These held a mixture of waders included Oystercatchers, a number of Curlews and Turnstones.
I could see a number of Bar-tailed Godwits, some with their distinctive curved beaks showing really well. As more walkers began to stroll along the shore line groups of waders moved from one feeding area to the next. This provided an opportunity to practice some in flight shots of the Godwits.
With the tide on the turn and time for lunch we headed back for a coffee and snack. Then it was on to the Fen Hide and east trail. Not a great deal going on from the hide apart from a distance view of a Marsh Harrier and a equally distance view of a dove. On closer inspection this turned out to be one of the turtle doves that have taken up residency this summer at the reserve. There were a large number ducks on Patsy’s pool. They were mostly Mallard and a couple of Swans. With the Autumn trail now open I took the opportunity to look out over the back of the freshwater marsh. in the hopes of getting better views of the spoonbills, but with the water level low and the thick reed beds they were well hidden.
Whilst sitting on a bench at Patsy’s pool we had good views of a marsh harrier hunting. A kestrel flew low over the pond and rested in a nearby dead tree.
Suddenly a second smaller kestrel appeared and both flew to a nearby gate. They positioned themselves on the top bar next to each other. This provided an excellent opportunity to take close photographs as they seemed quite unconcerned with our presence. We were then treated to displays of hovering and hunting behaviour.
On return to the car park we were treated to good views of two turtle doves in a nearby tree. Once again it was a good day at Titchwell, with the exceptional views of the kestrels being the highlight.