24th August 2020 – Day One of three Day Exclusive Guiding Tour

We started this three day exclusive tour with a visit to Snettisham for another High tide spectacular. It was a different experience to last Saturday with the majority of the birds managing to just stay out on The Wash. The day started very well, just as we rounded the corner in the village a Barn Owl was hunting the near field.

The high tide was a fantastic experience with around 50,000 Red Knot swirling around in the skies. Accompanied by 2000+ Oystercatcher, 1200 Grey Plover many still sporting summer plumage, 2000 Dunlin, 300+ Redshank, 300+ Bar-tailed Godwit, 250 Curlew. Also smaller numbers of Ringed Plover, Sanderling and Turnstone.

The Red Knot erupt, probably c50,000 birds today!

To the rear there was several hunting Marsh Harriers as they drifted close the shorebirds would erupt into the skies. There was also a profusion of Kestrels with at least 10 hovering over the saltmarsh, taking advantage of voles being flushed by the high tide. Plus a nice striking juvenile Mediterranean Gull appeared with the Black-headed Gulls.

Once the tide started to drop we headed over to the hides, there was a nice flock of Dunlin all tightly huddled together, but tricky work through into the bright light, they seemed quite happy and refused to move! Lots of Common Terns, several Little terns and a huddle of Turnstone out on the islands. A nice party of 14 Spotted Redshank and 50 Black-tailed Godwit also roosting on one of the small islands. There were also 4-5 Common Sandpiper, dotted around the shorelines.

Back up on the saltmarsh, a few Swallows were moving South, then 2 Yellow Wagtails called, dropped in briefly, before soon continuing their journey South.

As we were leaving a really smart male Common Kestrel flashed by giving great views and the chance of a picture.

A young male Common Kestrel at least 12 of these at Snettisham today

In the afternoon we headed to Holme to look for the Wryneck present the last few days. It was now hot and sunny and there had been no sightings for over an hour, but patience paid off and another 30 minutes and the Wryneck called and then suddenly appeared. Initially brief views but after a couple of flights it sat up nicely on top of a shrub on top of the bank, with great scope views!

© Wryneck taken by Tim Stowe

Also in the same area several Stonechat and a Whinchat. We then headed up on to the seawall and out over the sea a Common Scoter flew East and small numbers of Sandwich Tern. I then heard the distinct repetitious call of Whimbrel, a quick scan and we picked them up high flying South a nice group of 12 Whimbrel with 4 Curlew, the size difference very evident.

The day was rounded off with more overhead migration with a Yellow wagtail and a late Swift.