Monday, 17 September 2007

Norfolk weekend day 3 - Oh Knot again

My planned 'escape' involved a very early breakfast. I woke up with a rather itchy bite (pesky unswatted mosquito) plus a very achy back from the metal mattress springs!
The decent cooked English breakfast gained a little redemption for the B&B and the meal went without incident. Time to load the car and hit the road. With no rarities around, I decided with Titchwell just 5 minutes away to go for another beach photographic session. There was still a chance of something interesting, either here or elsewhere on the reserve?

A day in the life of a Knot is quite predictable and repetitive. High tide is spent snoozing/preening and then as the tide recedes, slowly but surely interest in the shoreline becomes heightened as food is exposed. The huge resting flock becomes fragmented with small groups seeking out fresh pickings. Activity becomes heightened however as the local mussel beds become exposed with a feeding frenzy ensuing, birds swarming and literally landing on each other in their efforts to find food. Finally, as low tide is reached, a much more leisurely approach is taken, time for a wash, another morsel or two and then back to resting.....

Some examples of other small waders in flight. Sanderling are tricky little so and so's due to their small size and speed but quite satisfying to capture, Turnstones are not much easier but just as satisfying.

Perhaps the best looking bird on the beach was a gorgeous summer plumaged male Bar-tailed Godwit. The best bird seen over the sea was an Arctic Skua mugging a Sandwich Tern, too distant for a picture though.

The sun shone and it was blowing an offshore gale all day, any skin exposed got burnt and/or sandblasted. I needed to heed two important lessons for the next time. One - don't forget the suncream, even in September! Two - remember that Gitzo tripods do not like sand - in fact they hate it and I needed a careful cleaning session afterwards to get rid of the rather dodgy grinding sound of the collars being tightened!!

I called it a day late afternoon, the 3.5 hour drive home was pretty good all things considered. As was the weekend!!

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