Blue sky, no wind and a reasonable temperature, a good to be alive and out birding day. I did have to scrape frost off the front windscreen before setting out, the rest of the car was already defrosted and streaming. Straight to Titchwell via Choseley Barns. No sign of yesterday's reported Bean Goose and Snow Bunting, no birds at all in the yard. The usual anonymous hedge divers and Houdini birds until a single male Brambling posed on the overhead wires.
Titchwell car park was packed, our usual fishermen's parking spot was empty though.
Five Pintail upended at the far end of the marsh pool on the left and a single little Grebe bobbed up, allowing a quick look.Scanning the Freshwater Pool with its hundreds of Wigeon, Teal. Brent Geese with a scattering of Shelduck, Pochard, Gadwall and Shoveller, we found a few Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit and Ruff. The near Teal looked so beautiful that I tried some digiscoping. Most of the pics were useless - they were busy preening and head bobbing at each other - or the light was wrong. Here's one.....
Pam missed the calling Water Rail, I'd left her behind - accidentally!
The beach platform seat was occupied, so we stood and scanned the sea for half an hour or so. The tide had turned but was still four hours away from high. Plenty of the usual waders on the exposed mussel beds, including Bar-tailed Godwits, Grey Plover, Turnstone, Sanderling and dozens of Oystercatchers. I love the plaintive whistle of the Grey Plover.
The sea looked pretty empty apart from at least a dozen Great Crested Grebes dotted around. Tennis match side to side scanning produced four Long-tailed Ducks, one of them a drake, close inshore, four Red-Breasted Mergansers, several fly-past Red-throated Divers and a lone Guillemot. No sign of the Red-necked and Slav Grebe mentioned yesterday, to the disappointment of a birder we know well by sight who always greets us as friends and we haven't got a clue who she is! She kept me up to date with her 2012 birds whilst I scanned.
Julian and Duncan didn't linger long after we told them about the close Long-tailed Duck in response to their 'what's on the sea' request.
As we reached the path to Parrinder, we were hailed by an older man who entertained us for a good fifteen minutes. He gives talks and is a keen photographer. The best tale was being given a copy of Saunders' ancient and leather bound book of Norfolk Birds, reading about a Black-capped Petrel and tracking down the stuffed specimen. It's in the Norwich museum. Who is he? He mentioned 'Coe' - surname or first name? Anyway, all very entertaining and interesting, thank you Coe.
Reaching the Freshwater Pool once more, a friendly young man gave me directions as to the whereabouts of a Water Pipit. Good job he did. It was feeding in the thick undergrowth, close in to the bank beyond Parrinder Hide, only showing occasionally.
We made our way home along the coast road, adding a Sparrowhawk and a Marsh Harrier to the day list which was a respectable upper 60s - almost all of them seen at at Titchwell. Great reserve and a very enjoyable day.