Field House Farm, Brancaster & Titchwell Marsh - 19th May 2009

Well I managed to take my own advice and get a little birding in whilst at work. I was working on a farm near Brancaster, north Norfolk and not only had a few sightings on the farm but also managed to get up to Titchwell Marsh for an hour, a local RSPB reserve. On the farm I watched a Pied Wagtail whilst working and 2 Goldfinch joined it on the ground for a few minutes. Also plenty of Swallow and House Martin hunting flies over a nearby field and 2 Swift flew over before I left. Other sightings included Woodpigeon, Oystercatcher, Jackdaw, Pheasant, Skylark and Chaffinch. I then headed down to Titchwell Marsh for an hour and was directed by one of the wardens to a couple of hides were I might have some good sightings.
First I headed to the Fen Hide in hope to see the Bittern which has been showing well lately, but as my Leighton Moss experiences show the bird eludes me. No sign of the Bearded Tit whilst I was there either another bird I always seem to miss out on at Leighton Moss. I did manage to see 4 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler (there seemed to be a lot around with calls coming from everywhere) and a male Blackcap. The Marsh Harrier was also showing though very distant. Onto the Parrinder Hide were you have good view of both marshes. I sat down made myself comfortable and spotted my first lifer for the day. I must add I asked the RSPB warden to ID it for me but there it was an Artic Tern along with a Common Tern. Very similar birds, as was pointed out the Artic have shorter legs and only a slight tip of black on the end of its bill. Plenty of Avocet around, flying between the 2 marshes and 20+ Turnstone feeding on one of the small islands. A flock of 30+ Brent Geese flew in joining the Gadwall, Shellduck, Shoveler and 70+ Black-Tailed Godwit.
The Marsh Harrier showed further and a Little Egret flew over as I left.
I didn’t have a lot of time and will look to go back as there if possible.

It was then back to the farm just to check on things before the long drag back. I was just entering the farm track when I spotted several crows mobbing something. I stopped to take a quick look and saw the best sight of the day. 4 Carrion crows were mobbing a Marsh Harrier which in turn was mobbing a Honey Buzzard. Had to check several books to confirm the ID but the wing patterns and size compared with the Harrier made it a certain ID. I see a lot of Buzzard on my travels and it was slightly larger and different wing patterns. I did grab my camera but had no chance of even getting a record photo with the my lens, need to be saving for that Sigma!

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