A diary of my birding activity covering highlights and photos from my birding adventures. Mainly Norfolk (UK), occasionally beyond. I might mention the odd thing that isn't avian, but for moth and other insect news check out my mothing diary.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Great Knot but not great

Having dipped on the Great Knot three times I thought it was about time I saw it.  It was on the fresh marsh at Titchwell on 27th June while I was at work.  Did I have enough time to see it in my lunch hour?  It would be touch and go, but I went for it.  Racing out to the freshmarsh I looked a bit out of place all togged up for work, a fact that was confirmed by the various comments I received, but I got there with 5 minutes to go before I needed to head back to work.  The flock of Knot was still there, but was the Great Knot?  Yes, but it was asleep in the middle of the flock. All I could see was what looked like a dark breast on a bird more or less front-on, but views weren't great - I wasn't quite sure which side its body was on for a start!  Then briefly it woke up and stuck its head up - that's better, I can see it's a Great Knot now, just.  Then immediately it went back to sleep.  It woke up again once or twice more, and then I had to go.

When the Great Knot arrived I decided I wasn't bothered about seeing it unless I could get good views of it.  Now I'd seen it, but I still hadn't got good views of it.  I enjoyed the Mediterranean Gull that flew over the visitor centre as I raced back to the car just as much, and the Corn Bunting that was singing at Choseley as I drove past without stopping, just as much.  I'll just have to keep trying with the Knot, I figured.

It stayed on the reserve most of the afternoon, long after high tide had been and gone.  It was a nice evening and I didn't have to be back home for anything so I decided to have another go after work.  Needless to say I arrived a few minutes too late - it had just flown off.  But I did have a very pleasant evening chatting to Paul and watching a few bits and pieces.  The reserve was teaming with birdlife in fact and it was a wonderful bright warm calm evening.  Among the highlights was a fine female Spotted Redshank parading around in front of us.  This is a Dutch-ringed bird that has returned for the third consecutive year.

Spotted Redshank, Titchwell, 27th June

Other waders included a pair of Little Ringed Plovers and about 3-400 Avocets.  A Red Kite flew over in the distance and both Little Gull and Mediterranean Gull put in an appearance (a different Med Gull to the one I'd seen at lunchtime).  2 Bearded Tits showed briefly but the bird of the evening for me was a Teal.  At this time of year I often get sent pictures of Teal with brown cheeks which the observers think might be hybrids, but in fact they are pure Teals moulting in to eclipse plumage.  This appeared to be one such bird but it was a more distinctive example than any I've seen before with really strikingly pale cheeks.  Later update: it transpires that the unusual appearance of this bird is due to it being intersex... a female developing male features.

intersex Teal, Titchwell, 27th June

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