Sunday, August 07, 2005

In the hide at Titchwell


Click for bigger version (it's almost like being there, but less windy)

This was a view from Island Hide at RSPB Titchwell Marsh this afternoon, where I spent most of the day, it seems. Hordes of Black-tailed Godwits, in a variety of adult summer, winter and juvenile plumages, showing splendidly. It's a shame that the sun felt unable to show itself at the same time, but that's the British weather for you.

[There is a bit of writing at the bottom of this post, if you're getting bored of waiting for the photos]

Warning: you are now entering the Wader Zone


[Don't click on the rest, they won't get any bigger]















Avocets, in various poses. Though some people whinge about their habits of chasing other birds away, you can't beat Avocets for striking good poses.


"It's too windy here; I want to go somewhere else"




Lapwing. Truly gorgeous, especially when the sun was out.






Ruff. A motley assortment of different plumages, some neater than others.






Black-tailed Godwit. On reflection, I think this is probably my favourite wading bird. Hard to digiscope today because of the rapid feeding action.


Bar-tailed Godwit. Spot the difference.


Juvenile Redshank.

Not waders:

Sedge Warbler, just outside the hide, but swaying around wildly in the wind.


Juvenile Shelduck. Not quite as attractive as the adult birds.

Titchwell is always an interesting place to visit. I think it's the most popular reserve in the country, and is usually full of visitors - birdwatchers, photographers, walkers, aimless wanderers, Sunday drivers and children. Some birders sneer at it, but Titchwell is just a great place.

Some observations:

It seems that everybody has got a digital SLR these days. There was an astounding array of photographic gear on show at the reserve today. Almost as astounding was a telescope which seemed to be held together from gaffer tape.

I had a chat with a Small Boy (around eight years of age). No, make that an interrogation. He hit me with a barrage of questions, some of which included:
  • What's the biggest bird you've seen today?
  • What's the smallest bird you've seen today?
  • Is the Dunlin the smallest British wader?
  • Is the Island Hide a good hide?
  • Is the other hide any good?
  • What kinds of ducks have you seen today?
  • What kinds of gulls have you seen today?
  • Which kinds can I see flying around now?
  • What are those birds? [Ruff]
  • Where did you see the Little Egret?
  • Why did all the birds fly off? [Sparrowhawk]
It must be great to have such an inquisitive mind. I always enjoy encouraging the young birdwatchers of tomorrow. It's very refreshing.

One of the best things about Titchwell - certainly from a digiscoper's point of view - is that the birds there are so used to people walking about on the raised footpath and clanking about in the hides that they pay very little attention. So there's very little call for fieldcraft, because they've seen it all before.

It makes a pleasant change from watching waders at many other sites, where they're skittish and fly off at the first sign of 'trouble'.

I took just over 250 pictures in total today, and have deleted 50% of them after closer inspection on the computer. Most of the remainder are 'mystery bird photo competition' fodder, but some were OK.

digiscoped photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995 + Leica Apo Televid 62 with 16x eyepiece