Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Norfolk Day 2

Having done Cley yesterday, today's logical choice was Titchwell. The bus scenario meant I diddnt arrive on site until eleven, but I quickly settled down and began to rack up some year-ticks. Brief glimpses of Cettis Warbler were frustrating and a superb drake Red-crested Pochard remained sadly distant up the reed-beds.
I wandered up to the beach, getting more views of great waders: Redshank, Grey Plover, Black-tailed Godwit and my first Little Ringed Plover of the year. Brent Geese were also showing quite closely to the walkway. Out at sea it was fairly quiet, though there was a smart flock of Common Scoter not far offshore, as well as a couple of Great-crested Grebe in their summer finery.
Walking back down the sea wall I managed to grab a few more things, that were perhaps less expected. First I managed to pick up a smart Merlin hunting over the saltmarsh, though sadly it only passed through as opposed to hunting anything. I was able to grab a shot of it though although the light was not over helpful.
Back down near the visitor center I bumped into a crowd off birders looking into a ditch, and following where they were looking I could see they were looking at a Water Rail feeding right out in the open no more than a couple of meters away from us. It really did not seem bothered about us being there, although it had plenty of cover from fallen vegetation. I managed to get some shots but it was very dark in the shade and the vegetation obscured but I'm still pleased with the results that I got. 
-Water Rail
I was hopeful of picking up brambling on the feeders but there did not seem to be any about. Walking through the willows though I grabbed my first Chiff-chaff of the year. I had heard them since arriving in Norfolk but this was the first one that I had seen, mainly due to the fact that I could not face chasing them round given I was bound to bump into one at some point, as in here...
Continuing round to Pats Pool I did not pick up a great deal more for the daylist but there was a nice pair of Red-crested Pochard there that were showing a bit better than the birds in the reeds so I attempted to grab a record shot to work with and it seems decent enough for that.
-Red-crested Pochard
It was now about three in the afternoon and I decided to move on from Titchwell. I did manage a Brambling on the way out, in the feeders near the entrance although the views were badly obscured through the trees, still a nice addition to the day and yearlist.
Next on the agenda was the last Golden Pheasant at the Wolferton Triangle. The history of this bird is that this is the only disclosed tick-able Golden Pheasant left of the old population. An old bird, time is probably not on its side. I knew how to get there and what to do, but at this time in the afternoon I did not fancy my chances, especially with stories of having to wait up to 3 hours from first light, which was supposedly the best time of day. I arrive at Wolferton for half 4. Being on foot put me at a massive dis-advantage as the bird could come out at one side of the triangle and I would have no idea if I were on the other side, and it would take time to get round to check. I figured my best strategy was to pick a side, set up and the pray it played ball. I was in luck though. I initially walked the north side with no joy but there was a lot of traffic. Seeing the traffic made me even less confident of seeing it, but I figured if I was on site I at least had a chance.
Walking the south side I heard a call I was not familiar with on the far side of the road to the triangle, and a quick check of Xeno-canto via the phone confirmed that it may in fact be the pheasant I was after. With this possible lead I decided to set up on the south side and scan the road. It was about half an hour since when I turned around from looking up the road to see a flash of gold dissapear into the bushes behind me. It had obviously come out when I was facing the other way and when I turned my movement had spooked it back in. However, it had now not only been seen, but its position and intentions had been given away. It was clearly trying to cross the road to Triangle. Now all I had to do was wait.
It took another 10mins before, emerging from the bushes, he decided to saunter across. It was incredible to see, but it quickly turned to horror when a car decided to come speeding round the corner and reduced possibly a 10 second crossing into a 2 second crossing. The pheasant put on a spurt across the road into the triangle and that was that. With the sudden pressure of the car I had no time to think, and one of the things I failed to do was focus the camera, what a muppet. The bird moved so fast I had no time to judge and by the time I had the focusing right the bird was already gone...
-Golden Pheasant
I was so pleased to have seen it, and after only an hour. I was buzzing. The road was still busy and now with no pin-point on its location I knew the odds were stacked against me for re-finding it. I decided to call it a day at that, but what a result, I did not expect that at all. Result.

Species List:
Titchwell RSPB: Common Buzzard, Woodpigeon, Red-legged Partridge, Black-headed Gull, Siskin, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Marsh Harrier, Greylag Goose, Brent Goose, Common Teal, Pochard, Coot, Cettis Warbler, Red-crested Pochard, Curlew, Gadwall, Canada Goose, Shelduck, Pied Wagtail, Mallard, Grey Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Little-ringed Plover, Avocet, Shoveler, Moorhen, Red Kite, Sparrowhawk, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Scoter, Great-crested Grebe, Oystercatcher, Common Gull, Cormorant, Meadow Pipit, Herring Gull, Swallow, Goldfinch, Sand Martin, Jackdaw, Magpie, Pheasant, Collard Dove, Chiff-chaff, Wigeon, Water Rail, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Brambling, Wren, 
Wolferton Triangle: Goldcrest, Siskin, Long-tailed Tit, Common Buzzard, Woodpigeon, Chaffinch, Golden Pheasant, Robin, Blue Tit, Blackbird,

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