Out at Holkham & Titchwell today. We started at Holkham, with 10 Whimbrel right next to the road at Lady Ann’s Drive – really good to see them up close. Then later we also had another 5 from the hides, this time nice to watch them side-by-side with a couple of Curlew, to compare & contrast. Several hundred Swifts were feeding out over the grazing marshes and more, together with smaller numbers of Swallows and House Martins, were passing west over the pines. The Spoonbills put on a performance – feeding, preening, bathing and flying back and forth. In the dunes, we found a party of 5 Greenland Wheatears sheltering from the blustery SW wind, including the most richly coloured bird I think I have ever seen – almost rufous-orange on the breast. Walking back, we came across a singing Firecrest, though it proved hard to see in the tops of the trees.
We called in at Choseley on the way, to see the Dotterel, and just in time as it turned out. The five birds (4 bright females and a much duller male) seemed to be happily running around in the field when we arrived. One of the females just lifted and flexed her wings a couple of times. Then suddenly, without prompting, they were off, calling – they flew over the road to the E, then back NW and we lost sight of them over the ridge.
Dropping down to Titchwell for lunch, the resident Robins showed rather well, as they came down for our sandwiches. Out on the reserve, there seemed to be rather more waders than the past few days, especially Dunlin. Common and Little Terns were flying back and forth and resting on the mud. Several Common Scoter and three Eider were still on the sea. A sharp ‘pseep’ revealed a ‘Channel’ Wagtail, the hybrid of our Yellow with the continental Blue-headed Wagtail, flying low across the freshmarsh, its vivid yellow underparts contrasting with a pale, almost off-white head. Finally, as we walked back, the Garganey (at least 2 drakes and a duck) ventured out from the reedy margins and gave themselves up, a fitting way to end the day.