What a great month this was, to get out to the east coast and to Norfolk – fantastic.
The month started locally at Willington DWT, with most of the usual suspects. It was pretty quiet, with high water levels and no discernable wader scrape, meaning the chances of seeing any passage waders was slim to non-existent. The local resident species provided me with some photo-opportunities however.
Boring to most people, Grey Herons to me are fascinating – I have been studying them for some years now and always find them interesting to watch.
The usual flock of Cormorants were flying to and fro from Drakelow.
On 2nd Sept, I went to Freiston Shore, for the high tide wader roost.
Arriving at 6.15am, after a 4am start, I found a flock of 400-500 Oystercatchers on the main pool, with approx. 50 Turnstone and various Redshanks, Ringed Plovers and Spotted Redshanks. There were also several hundred Black-tailed Godwits and Knot on the back pools. The light was poor, as it had decided to drizzle – shame – but as the morning wore on it picked up and I could get one or two shots.
I also decided to do a bit of SLR videoing, just for fun – results below:
Knot and Blackwits in full flight are something else.
Well after this, I headed off to Frampton Marsh RSPB, for the remainder of the morning and early afternoon. I really like Frampton, having only recently "discovered" it, following a colleague's suggestion to visit [thanks Tony].
Over 5,000 Black-tailed Godwits were there with over 2,000 Knot, made the possibly of flight shots good.
Monday 3rd was spent at RSPB Old Moor, or Dearn Valley as it is now more commonly known – I went with my birding friend "Hilton" Pete. The weather was good, but up there, they do not open until 0930h, which is ridiculous really, but never mind. Life on the reserve was pretty scarce, as unfortunately someone was driving a tractor round the site all morning. This was an RSPB employee obviously [;-)], but all the same it made for a disappointing species count for the day. We got some good shots of Grey Heron and Greenshank, so cannot complain too much. Oh, and the lunch was lovely!
The following weekend produced a few interesting birds at Willington – two Red Kites, together in a heat-filled blue sky and a couple of Green Sandpipers.
On the 19th Sept a friend and me stopped overnight at Long Sutton Travelodge [separate rooms!], then in the morning early drove to RSPB Snettisham, for the high tide wader spectacular, and what a spectacular it was! In fact this tide was the highest of all the year. Thousands of Knot, Oystercatcher, Black-tailed Godwits and Redshanks, wheeled around as the tide moved inwards, taking flight in vast clouds of birds, as their feeding grounds were gradually submerged. As it turned out, the tide actually came in fully, over 1 hour earlier than planned, due to the terrific westerly gales. Despite the wind, the weather was perfect, with a beautiful dawn and sunshine all the way.
These small pictures do not do it justice, but there are some larger images of the spectacular, amongst other images on my Wildaperture Flickr page – click here to view them, if you prefer.
Following this, we headed off to Tesco's at Hunstanton for a cooked breakfast and a cup of lovely tea. The afternoon was spent at RSPB Titchwell either on the beach with the waders, or on the path with the ducks.
Towards the month end we visited Norfolk for my birthday – camping, of all things. Just before we were due to go, news came of the destructive force of Hurricane "Nadine", which the UK was to catch her "tail-end", with high winds and torrential downpours expected. well, we went and sure enough the Saturday, Sunday, Monday and part of Tuesday were rank. Of course everything is magnified 10 times, when you're lying in a tent, thinking that the wind will blow you away like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz!
Well, fortunately it didn't, thanks to the quality build of Vango tents!
What it did do was stir an east wind, bringing across some drift migrants into the country, some of which thankfully landed in Norfolk, giving me two life ticks for Booted Warbler and Barred Warbler.
The rest of the week was stunning, with a light wind and plenty of sunshine during the day. Much of the usual birds at Titchwell and plenty of flight shots on the beach at high tide. A treat was a flypast of some of the Spoonbills which have frequented Titchwell for most of the summer, oh, and two superb birds close up – a juvenile Little Stint and a stonking Pectoral Sandpiper!
A rare landscape, but I thought it was so colourful.
That's it folks – looking forward to a good October.