It's almost 20 years since I missed out on the famous Great Knot (the 'Great Dot') at Seal Sands, Cleveland in October 1996. That turned up whilst I was on Scilly, and I had no chance of going for it after I came off as I was in Devon celebrating Isabelle's first birthday before going back to work the following Monday. The Dot lingered in early November, but the first weekend I could of gone coincided with a Little Bustard on the Lizard (I went for that instead with my birding mates who'd all already done the Dot). Given that I ditched my pager c14 years ago I had no idea that one had been in Lancs in 2004 (although not exactly twitchable) or that one had been at Breydon a couple of years ago. Not that I would of gone anyway!
I was already booked-off from work and planning to head to Titchwell on Friday on my way to meet up with other PSLers at Holkham for the weekend. Finding out that a Great Knot had turned up there was a massive slice of good luck - or at least would be if it stayed. Still, as a non-twitcher these days I was not rushing about. I left home at 7:30am and arrived at Titchwell at around 10am having taken about as long to get through Leicester as it took to get to Kings Lynn!
I sauntered down to the beach - there were lots of birders heading back and forth and the bird was clearly still around. When I got to the beach, there was a gaggle of birders though not all looking in the same direction. I quickly worked out that the large Knot flock was messing about, but the bird was amongst them - somewhere.
I'd gone sans scope as I can't be arsed lugging that about these days, so I bumbled about for a bit in the dunes and potted up or photographed a few bits ........
Marram Weevil (Philopedon plagiatum)
Eventually, the throng of twitchers coalesced into a uniform mass - so I casually rocked up, lifted my bins and enjoyed nice views of a stunning adult breeding plumaged Great Knot. I also managed to blag scope views from other birders (who probably took pity on such a pathetic dude trying to watch such a bird with no scope, huge telephoto lens or pager) and it was good. I did manage to grab some absolutely pathetic photos of it, but they are my pathetic photos of it!
Ironically, I should of been more intent on seeing it as about half an hour after I took these it flew off and wasn't seen again until much later in the evening on Scolt Head Island off Brancaster of all places. After the Greater Yellowlegs last year, my bird list is in danger of exceeding 410 by the end of the decade!
After failing to see any Dune Tiger Beetles in the dull and cool conditions, I sauntered back down the path and had a quick look on the fresh marsh, passing what used to be the brackish marsh ....
Loving what the RSPB are doing to attract carrion-eating invertebrates ......
Look under the wings ....
Black-headed Gull supper
I do like having a saunter around Titchwell - really good to see Cuckoo, Marsh Harrier, Little Tern, Bearded Tit and a good numbers of waders and wildfowl for a change. But visting always enlivened by a mega, and noticing the other stuff that's there.
Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn Beetle (Agapanthia villosoviridescens)
Not often that the name is a gobful in vernacular and scientific!
After all that I've been in Holkham all weekend poking about in and under logs, lifting dead rabbits, sweeping saltmarsh and generally bumbling about the dunes. Lots of stuff to ID - but that will have to wait.
Natterjack Toad, Holkham Dunes