Sunday 24 October 2021

A morning at RSPB Titchwell Marsh

We spent a  very enjoyable morning at Tichwell today. Having left at 5.30am we arrived shortly after 7.30am and made our way along the main footpath to begin scanning the Freshmarsh. We quickly picked out the Grey Phalarope relatively close to the path. My first Pink-footed Geese of 2021 were seen flying overhead. Having been unable to visit any coastal sites in the early part of the year due to Covid restrictions it was good to connect with these again.

Grey Phalarope

The newly created scrapes and islands on the Freshmarsh are proving very attractive to the numerous species of waders. Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits, Golden Plover, Knot, Ruff, Redshank, Lapwing, Avocets, and Dulin were all present.

Newly created scrapes and islands on the Freshmarsh

The Tidal Marsh produced several more additions to the day total, Greenshank, Grey Plover, Curlew, and Turnstone were all present. We were making our way towards the beach when Brian spotted a Guillemot preening close to the west bank. We were slightly concerned as to its condition but after several dives, it flew up and headed towards the sea.


We reached the beach and headed towards Thornham hoping to connect with the Purple Sandpiper that had been present for several days. We hadn't walked very far when the Sandpiper was spotted. 

Brian taking advantage of some cover

Purple Sandpiper

As we were watching the Sandpiper I spotted a single Snow Bunting. Both birds began to wander closer and closer to our position. Several Sanderling were also busily feeding along the shoreline.

Snow Bunting

A two-hour seawatch produced a smart Slavonian Grebe in Brancaster Bay and Red-throated Diver, Red-breasted Mergansers, Gannets, Guillemots, Razorbills, and Common Scoters were all seen.

Taking a break from the Seawatch


Saturday 9 October 2021

Long-toed Stint, St Aidan's RSPB Nature Reserve

When a small wader was found at St Aidan's RSPB Nature Reserve on Friday it was Initially reported as a Temminck's Stint when seen at a distance, it was soon revised and reported as being a Least Sandpiper. Having seen the Lodmoor bird in 2017 it didn't register too much interest. However, my interest peaked late on Friday evening when the bird was re-identified from photographs as a Long-toed Stint! 
There have only been two accepted British records (Marazion, Cornwall 1970 and Saltholme, Cleveland 1982 with a single record from Ireland (Ballycotton, Cork 1996. This prompted a complete change of plans. We decided to wait on news and react if it was reported. Thankfully after some initial negative news, the bird was reported as still, present at 8.26am. We left home at 9am and arrived on-site by 12.15pm.

St Aidan's Reserve Centre

The road in was lined with cars on both sides for several hundred metres, we took a chance and managed to find a spot in the main car park and soon were heading off along the main track. After a  walk of a mile we joined the masses and soon had our first sighting of the Long-toed Stint. Birders were lined up four-five deep in places and views were limited. Gradually birders began to leave and we eventually found ourselves at the front and enjoyed super views of the bird as it busily fed along the small island on Astley Lake. 
We went through some of the features while observing the bird through the scope, having discussed it at length on the way up. We came away happy that we had added another lifer to the list. If accepted my list would stand at 399 with the Piling Black-eared Wheatear from 2019 also in the pending list it could be that I have reached my 400 target. 

View over the reserve from the visitor centre

Dad looking at the Stint on the small island

There were a few birders already present!

Lined up all along the footpath

This was my first visit to this reserve and it was much larger than I was expecting, Probably a full day would be needed to fully explore all it had to offer.