My 267th species in the UK is a shorebird

I needed a little break from the uniformed weekdays, and as Norfolk is the closest coastal area, I jumped in my car for a short trip to one of my favourite regions of England.

The Titchwell RSPB Reserve is always an excellent destination. It’s a fantastic reserve with all sort of habitats and a close connection the Titchwell Beach and its beautiful dunes.

Semipalmated Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper by Mark Schwall. The original photo can be found on the photographer’s Flickr photostream. All rights reserved by Mark Schwall

Top of the latest bird records from the area, displayed in the visitor centre, was a highlighted species: Semipalmated Sandpiper. It was first found on Friday, and it’s the first record for Titchwell. One of the staff members advised me to go the main hide and look for the Dunlin flock. As I had no spotting scope with me, I hoped someone will be there and would offer a quick look at the rarity.

From the main path, I could find the Semipalmated Sandpiper with a company of about 100 Dunlins and a Curlew Sandpiper. The main hide was surprisingly empty. Only three of us were there. It wasn’t difficult to spot the ‘peep’ from the flock of Dunlins. One of the visitors kindly offered a view through his spotting scope, enabling us to see more details of this North American visitor.

The flock later was flushed by something and split into two smaller ones. The Semipalmated wasn’t in the returning, but then it was reported again by other birders.

My British list is climbing slowly towards the 300 but still a long way to go.

eBird checklist from the reserve:

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)  12
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)  30
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)  2
Gadwall (Mareca strepera)  1
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  16
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca crecca)  1
Common Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)  5
Common Swift (Apus apus)  2
Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)  4
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra)  2
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)  540
Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus ostralegus)  4
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)  2
Whimbrel (European) (Numenius phaeopus phaeopus)  1
Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)  4
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)  17
Ruff (Calidris pugnax)  6
Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)  1
Dunlin (Calidris alpina)  110
Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla)  1 
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)  3
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)  12
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)  5
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus graellsii)  4
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)  1
Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis sandvicensis)  1
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)  1
Little Egret (Western) (Egretta garzetta garzetta)  1
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)  5
Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)  2
Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis)  4
Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)  95
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  19
Eurasian Wren (British) (Troglodytes troglodytes indigenus)  2
Eurasian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)  5
Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  45
White Wagtail (British) (Motacilla alba yarrellii)  7
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)  1
Common Linnet (Linaria cannabina)  7
European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)  6
Common Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)  4

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