30th July 2014 – Waders, Spoonbills & Spotted (a) Crake!

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A private tour today in North Norfolk, we went looking for waders and Spoonbills. There are lots of waders on the move at the moment, so it is a good time to be out looking along the coast. We also have the large post-breeding gatherings of Spoonbills to admire. And the odd rarity is around as well!

We started at Cley, looking for sandpipers. A good number had been reported the night before, so it seemed a good place to be this morning. Unfortunately, a lot of them seemed to have moved on. We did find a couple of Green Sandpipers and a Yellow-legged Gull out on the scrapes. Several Little Ringed Plovers showed well. There were still plenty of the commoner waders to look at, including Black-tailed Godwits and Ruffs of various hues. Out on North Scrape, the regular group of Spoonbills numbered 16, including lots of juveniles and a few adults.

We headed along to Titchwell for lunch. On our way out to the freshmarsh, we picked up three eclipse drake Red-crested Pochard on the reedbed pool. The freshmarsh itself was alive with waders. Stopping in Island Hide, we quickly found one of our targets for the day – a dainty spangled Wood Sandpiper.

P1080350Wood Sandpiper – gorgeous!

We also hoped to see the adult Spotted Crake which has been seen sporadically at Titchwell over the last couple of days. Thankfully, we did not have to wait too long before it slipped out of the reeds and worked its way along the muddy edge. Crakes can often be elusive and it disappeared back into the vegetation, not to be seen again while we were there, but thankfully not before we had got a good look at it.

IMG_1421Spotted Crake – on the edge of the reeds

Titchwell was also not to be left out on the Spoonbill stakes. We counted a minimum of 9 birds together on the freshmarsh (taking us to at least 25 for the day). Several were flying back and forth from Thornham saltmarsh and one even landed out on the beach and started feeding in a rock pool!

P1080356Spoonbill – we saw at least 25 in the day

The weather was glorious, a slight breeze just taking the worst out of the heat, and it was a real delight to be out on the coast. There was so much to see – a Hobby flashed across the water, several young Marsh Harriers were practicing their flying skills over the reedbed, a Turtle Dove flew overhead and the odd Yellow Wagtail lurked amongst the enormous number of adult and juvenile Pieds. However, it was the waders we had come to see and we were not to be disappointed there either. Ringed & Little Ringed Plovers, Knot still in their orange summer plumage, various shapes and sizes of Ruff, Bartailed & Blacktailed Godwits, Whimbrel & Curlew, and several Spotted Redshank with some almost in black breeding plumage still but others in silvery grey winter dress, to name but a few.

The best way to spend an afternoon.

P1080318Avocet – the juveniles can be very obliging

P1080343Ringed Plover

P1080320Ruff – an early juvenile

P1080369Black-tailed Godwit — some, such as this one, still mostly in summer plumage

P1080346Spotted Redshanks – again a mixture of plumages, this one still mostly sooty-black summer

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