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.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Great Knot at last

This might feel like a 'blast from the past' post given how far behind I am, but it's not meant to be!  If you've read previous diary entries you'll know that I had several attemptes to see the Great Knot this summer mostly with no success and once with just poor views.  Well eventually I did see it well!

The Great Knot had spent some time at Gore Point, Holme over the previous couple of days so I started off there early doors, after seeing a Barn Owl on the way up at Brisley.  It was a lovely morning, very pleasant, all the better for the Hobby that whizzed through and 2 Spoonbills that flew west.  But there didn't seem to be any waders on the beach. There were a few scattered waders on the estuary, like this Ringed Plover, but no big flocks of roosting Knot.

Ringed Plover, Holme, 2nd July

Eventually I did find a flock of waders on the beach: 17 Sanderling.  They were very nice of course, but they weren't a Great Knot.  Robin Chittenden had indicated that he'd seen the Great Knot further round towards Old Hunstanton early morning a day or two earlier so I tried the beach opposite the golf course.  Nada.

Titchwell was the next place to try and there were plenty of Knot on the freshmarsh here.  From the bank I couldn't see a Great one among them so I went down to the hide for a different angle.  No-one there had seen it so after a quick scan I continued on to the beach.  Surprisingly, given how much time it has spent on the beach during its stay, and how many birders were on site, there was only one birder on the beach ahead of me, Mike Buckland.  He was already well down to the east where I could see a small flock of Knot and Oystercatchers.  I couldn't immediately pick out the Great Knot but needed to get closer, so headed down towards Mike, not feeling very optimistic given the quite small number of Knot in the flock.  As I reached Mike he indicated that the Great Knot was there and indeed it was!  It tended to keep to the back of the flock, often hidden from view but often appearing at one end of the flock.  The three of us now present moved further round to view the flock in better light and eventually we all got really good views of it.

Great Knot (with Oystercatchers and Knots), Titchwell, 2nd July

Eventually the entire flock took off and flew towards the freshmarsh.  The Great Knot is the lone bird top left in the flock shot below.

Great Knot (with Oystercatchers and Knots), Titchwell, 2nd July

I returned to the Parrinder hide where the bird was showing nicely at the front of the flock, although by the time I set up for photos it had moved round to the back of the flock where it stayed for most of the next couple of hours or so.

Great Knot (with Knots), Titchwell, 2nd July

Lots of Swifts were flying past the hide close by so I made a few attempts at snapping them.

Swifts, Titchwell, 2nd July

Avocet, Titchwell, 2nd July

There were at least 6 Red-crested Pochards on the freshmarsh and we heard a Bittern booming.  A couple of Bearded Tits showed.  Rob eventually turned up and saw the Knot - must have been the first time he's twitched anything for years!  We headed round to Patsy's Pool where we found 2 Little Ringed Plovers.

A successful morning after which I returned home knackered to catch up on sleep.