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Saturday, 10 September 2011

The North Norfolk trip "Titch" & Cley

Gratefully accepting a kind offer by John H for a lift up to North Norfolk, our first stop was Titchwell RSPB, my first visit this century! The car park at 10am was virtually full up and we managed to park on the overflow carpark. By 10.20am we were overlooking the stretch of reedbed near the visitor centre, we had just missed the Little Bittern which had showed just 5 minutes earlier. While we waited a shout went up and looking out south to some far bare trees all in a line, the excellent Cattle Egret complete with yellow bill was perched behind a branch at the very top! After 5 minutes it flew west and down and out of sight. We were joined by regular correspondent Paul W and he did really well to call a distant Red Kite, a real surprise that was flying low over the reedbed and being mobbed by a male Marsh Harrier. The Kite was typically really long- winged (with no wing tags) and its forked tail was swivelled constantly in flight. 2 Little Egret were also seen out on the marsh.
Suddenly, a shiver of excitement by those around Phil H, led to a brief but excellent sighting of the immature Little Bittern at 11.05am. Perched on the top bank behind the path, we had been overlooking the dyke leading away from us, we looked down the dyke to the end where the reeds of either side leant over and touched at the top. The immature Little Bittern suddenly appeared from nowhere clambering up the stem of a reed on the right which leant over to the left where it stepped across and suddenly out of sight!We stayed for a little longer hoping for a repeat performance but it wasn't to be so we took it as our cue to leave and wandering into the first hide we saw 1 Curlew Sandpiper and 25 Dunlin. Entering the new space-age hide, John saw the Buff- breasted sandpiper by 3 posts but it promptly disappeared behind a large Sueda bush. A few minutes later the excellent Buff-breasted Sandpiper reappeared by the posts before walking right amongst the grass. Near the hide by the dyke to the right a winter- plumaged Spotted Redshank. Another Spotted redshank was seen on the grass.At Cley from Daukes hide, we saw loads of Ruff c30and Black- tailed Godwits c40very close to the hide on the mud. A Little Egret flying in managed to scare off all the close waders who flew to the back of the marsh. The Little Egret was soon joined by another. Further back I saw 7 Curlew Sandpipers and 1 Dunlin. At the side and back were 2 separate Green Sandpipers. 1 Common Sandpiper was on the other scrape. a dozen, 12 Golden Plover were seen on the back of the scrape and one flew much closer, also a couple of Ruff and 2 Curlew Sandpipers came closer too.
Also on that scrape were 8 Spoonbills all asleep!

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