Norfolk journey 2018: Day 2

A morning trip to the RSPB reserve on the coast at Titchwell, prompted by the reports of a couple of good birds the night before. As we walked down the track to the freshwater marsh a Great White Egret flew across the reeds giving excellent views. Scanning the marsh from Island hide Sue picked out some small waders, Dunlin, but on checking one had a down-curved bill and a reddish tinge to its body, a Curlew Sandpiper. Back on the path, and with the help of others we had soon located the first of our targets, a Red-necked Phalarope. It was distant and only its behaviour of feeding at a frantic pace made it stand out at that distance. There was no sign of our second target, a Glossy Ibis, which had arrived the evening before and had last been seen flying into the reed-bed. Also present was a flock of 18 Eurasian Spoonbills, over 200 Black-tailed Godwits and 20 Ruffe.

Red-necked Phalarope. Photo by Tom Wilberding (

As we walked back to the centre scanning the salt marsh, a bird flew across my view and immediately disappeared into the marsh vegetation. It was slender winged, grey with black wing tips and it had a white rump. Although it did not reappear to confirm its identity I am pretty sure that it was a male Hen Harrier, the rarer of our two Harrier species.

Male Hen Harrier. Photo by Radovan Vaclav (

An excellent mornings birdwatching

Taking a break from nature watching Sue and I went shopping at the North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival held in the walled garden at Holkham Hall.

There were around 60 stands from local producers and on display were everything from meat to cheese; from vegetables to fruit; from cordial to gin and whisky. The great delight about these festivals is going from stall to stall testing and tasting the goods on offer. We brought some provisions for the holiday before stopping at a farm shop in Walsingham to complete our shopping. It is always good to savour the local produce.


Red Admiral and Comma

Back at our cottage in the afternoon, the garden contained a host of butterflies – Red Admiral, Large and Small White; Comma and Small Tortoishell along with a Hummingbird Hawkmoth.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

Later in the evening, we saw a Barn Owl flying across the field and around 10.30pm we heard a Tawny Owl calling and then at least two Barn Owls calling, well more like screaming, as they objected to its presence in their territory. Amazing sound – I have never heard then call before.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Eurasian Spoonbill [sp] (Platalea leucorodia)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Egret [sp] (Ardea alba)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Ruff (Calidris pugnax)
Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Western Barn Owl [sp] (Tyto alba)
Tawny Owl [sp] (Strix aluco)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Willow Warbler [sp] (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
Common Linnet [sp] (Linaria cannabina)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)
Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

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