After a nights sleep and an excellent breakfast we set off for Titchwell Marshes (RSPB). West Runton is between 5-10 miles further east so the journey took about an hour.
The weather wasn’t bad, dry with patchy cloud and hardly any wind to really speak of. For our Norfolk trips this is almost tropical! It had been agreed that we would head out to the sea straight away and then work back to the visitor centre/car park for lunch. This didn’t quite work out as there was so much to see on the walk out that we only just made it before lunch! Walking out some of us managed to see several hundred Ruff intermixed with Golden Plover, Redshank, Curlew and Brent Geese. It should also be noted that a couple of others saw the Red-crested Pochard which is now resident here. They were all feeding out in the first fields you can look out over from the visitor centre pathway. The RSPB have done a great deal of work to both the paths and cutting back the under brush.
Out on the beach there were literally hundreds of Knot feeding on the razorshells high up along the high-tide line and almost under peoples feet! In amongst the Knot were Sanderling, Turnstone, the odd Dunlin and Grey Plover. It was like a moving mass on the beach as they tussled and jostled around feeding. Further out on the beach Oystercatchers and Bar-tailed Godwits fed along the water-line and Black-headed, LBB, GBB and Herring Gulls kept them company. On the sea there were Red-throated Divers, Razorbills, Eiders, Goldeneye, Wigeon, Common Scoters and a Long-tailed Duck (although others had seen this bird on one of the lagoons on the walk out).
Walking back towards the parrinder hide for lunch we saw (in no particular order); Skylark feeding on the saltmarsh. Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Gadwall, Teal, Shoveller, Pintail, Mallard, Shelduck, Coot, Moorhen, Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank, Dunlin and Avocet. Flying distantly a Marsh Harrier upset the wildfowl at the back of the main freshwater lagoon. Mute Swan, Grey Heron and Cormorant were also present around the back edges of the lagoon. Small birds were few and far between but Reed Bunting and Meadow Pipit were present in the saltmarsh. Unfortunately Bitterns were in short supply and we didn’t actually manage to see one at all.
After lunch we all wandered back towards the car park (and the toilets). Along the route to the visitor centre a pair of Water Rails were having a massive scrap in a dry lagoon (drained to presumably allow saltmarsh intrusion). Between the visitor centre and car park in amongst the dense foliage and damp ground Bramblings, Redwings and Chaffinches fed. A few members also noticed a strange fungus was growing on several dead branches, later identified as Scarlet Elf Cup (Sarcoscypha coccinea).
We decided to leave Titchwell RSPB as this point and head up to Choseley Drying barns – not far from Titchwell. There we saw 20+ Corn Buntings, 100+ Yellowhammers, Red-legged Partridge, Grey Partridge, Common Buzzard and plenty of Hares. Some left early and went to Warham Greens for the bird of prey roost, we however went via Burnham Overy. We had nice views of several Barn Owls, Common Buzzard and Marsh Harrier, unfortunately we didn’t get the Rough-legged Buzzard which had been reported for a few weeks from this site.
Back in the hotel we sat down to a brisk dinner and another warm and comfortable night (well most did).
Day 3 coming soon…