My contribution to the Global Shorebird Counting in Norfolk

Norfolk has always been a rewarding region in the United Kingdom for finding waders for the Global Shorebird Counting Program. Following an exceptional experience with thousands of them at the Snettisham, I headed east to the Hunstanton Cliffs which area is good for waders at low tide. As expected, there were quite a few Eurasian Oystercatcher but other waders such as Eurasian Curlew, Ruddy Turnstone, Common Redshank and Common Greenshank were recorded as well. As the coffee shop was closed at the cliffs, I soon drove to the Titchwell RSPB Reserve for some much-needed cappuccino.

Hunstanton Cliffs eBird checklist:

Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) 6
Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus ostralegus) 127
Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) 2
Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) 18
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) 3
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) 22
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 63
Mew Gull (Larus canus) 2
European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus argentatus) 39
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) 1
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 2
Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 7

Hunstanton Cliffs offer good feeding place for birds at low tide. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Eurasian Oystercatchers were actively feeding at the beach. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

A flock of Eurasian Oystercatchers along the Hunstanton Beach, Norfolk. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Moult progress on Eurasian (Western) Oystercatchers. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

This Mew (Common) Gull looked rather tired as it walked close to me. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Taxonomy is changing so do English names. The previously used Common Gull name was replaced by Mew Gull according to IOC. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Common Gull landed next to me for puddling. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Great Black-backed Gull take off. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

A very peaceful Great Black-backed Gull at the Hunstanton beach. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Lights were not great on this Common Wood Pigeon but still looks to be a decent shot. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

The Titchwell RSPB Reserve and Titchwell Beach are obvious choices when it comes finding waders in Norfolk. That was my next stop along the north Norfolk coast. It did not disappoint although there were not great numbers in the reserve.

Here is the eBird checklist from the Titchwell Marshes:

Greylag Goose (Anser anser) 3
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 1
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) 9
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) X
Green-winged Teal (Eurasian) (Anas crecca crecca) X
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) 1
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) 2
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) 3
Eurasian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) 8
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) 3
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) 71
European Golden-Plover (Pluvialis apricaria) 11
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) 18
Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) 5
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) 8
Red Knot (Calidris canutus) 1
Ruff (Calidris pugnax) 63
Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)  1
Dunlin (Calidris alpina) 46
Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) 2
Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus) 1
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) 11
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 20
European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus argentatus)  1
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus graellsii) 1
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) 1
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) 1
Western Little Egret (Egretta garzetta garzetta) 1
Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo) 1
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 2
Common House-Martin (Delichon urbicum) 17
Eurasian Wren (British) (Troglodytes troglodytes indigenus) 1
Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 3
White Wagtail (British) (Motacilla alba yarrellii) 7
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis) 1
Eurasian Linnet (Linaria cannabina) 2
Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) 2

Pied Avocets were feeding close to the hides. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Juvenile Pied Avocet is a great symbol of the conservation success of British organisations in recovering breeding populations of Pied Avocet. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Typical Pied Avocet feeding pose. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Titchwell Tidal Marsh with the Parrinder Hide in the background. Sony RX10 IV @ Gyorgy Szimuly

Feeding Common Shelduck in front of the hide at Titchwell Marsh. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Moulting Common Shelduck. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Mud souping Green-winged Teal or Eurasian Teal. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Female Green-winged Teal (Eurasian). Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

I found this lone Blak-tailed Godwit with a colour ring combination. It was marked in September 2016 at the River Alde estuary near Inken, Suffolk, east England ever since. Recoveries are from late Summer and September. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

This Black-tailed Godwit was marked by Pete Potts. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Due to a light drizzle, the Tichwell Beach was not as crowded with walkers as expected but some beach-goers disturbed the feeding and roosting flock of shorebirds and gulls.

Count results from Titchwell Beach:

Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus ostralegus) 148
Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) 12
Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) 47
Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica) 63
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) 34
Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) 4
Red Knot (Calidris canutus) 6
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) 84
European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus argentatus) 35
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) 2
Sandwich Tern (Eurasian) (Thalasseus sandvicensis sandvicensis) 3
Little Egret (Western) (Egretta garzetta garzetta) 1
Common House-Martin (Delichon urbicum) 9

Black-headed Gull in immaculate winter plumage at the East Harbour of Burnham. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

My last stop was at the Cley Marshes further to the east. After purchasing a rather pricey permit to the marsh, I had close views on feeding Black-tailed Godwits.

eBird checklist from Cley Marshes:

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) 4
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) 10
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) 11
Gadwall (Mareca strepera strepera) 1
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope) 34
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 1
Green-winged Teal (Eurasian) (Anas crecca crecca) 123
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) 16
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto decaocto) 3
Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus) 1
Eurasian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) 1
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) 1
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) 52
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa islandica) 349
Ruff (Calidris pugnax) 12
Dunlin (Calidris alpina) 2
Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus) 1
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 45
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus graellsii) 3
Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) 1
Bearded Reedling (Panurus biarmicus) 2
Common House-Martin (Delichon urbicum) 4
White Wagtail (British) (Motacilla alba yarrellii) 16
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis) 1
Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) 1

A series of Black-tailed Godwit photos from the Cley Marshes. Sony RX10 IV @ Gyorgy Szimuly

Black-tailed Godwit. Sony RX10 IV @ Gyorgy Szimuly

Black-tailed Godwit. Sony RX10 IV @ Gyorgy Szimuly

Black-tailed Godwit. Sony RX10 IV @ Gyorgy Szimuly

All in all this trip to north Norfolk was an amazing experience again. This is the closest coastal area to my home and it’s always a pleasure to return.

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