Darting to Titchwell

Today I had a rehearsal in King’s Lynn in the evening and so decided to pop into Titchwell RSPB on the way. My last visit, as few days ago, had seen it relatively quiet in terms of birds, but there was a lot more about today. However the first photos I took weren’t of birds: I’ve been seeing a lot of dragonflies over the last few days – presumably an effect of the sustained hot weather, and so it was interesting to try to get some decent photos as the light was good.

common darter – male (above) & female (below)
Close up of a male common darter

When I began birdwatching in about 1976 one of my initial favourite birds was the lapwing, I think because of the colours and the head plume, but also perhaps because – as a beginner – they were easy to identify and, in the 1970s, plentiful. There’s been a huge decline in their numbers but I’ve commented previously this year that I’ve seen a lot and their numbers do seem to be increasing once again.

northern lapwing

As there often is at Titchwell there was a flock of more than a hundred golden plover quite close to the bank: most in winter plumage but some with hints of their summer black bellies. At one point something made them all take flight, and then – a few seconds later – a peregrine falcon flew straight over my head!

golden plover
golden plover in flight (above & below)

I was interested today in the sheer numbers of pied wagtails feeding on the muddy areas of the main freshwater lagoon at Titchwell. I estimated at least 20. There were quite a lot of juvenile birds and I guess a plentiful supply of insects, so it was obviously a good place for them to be. In amongst them were also two or three yellow wagtails, which I always like seeing.

A pied and a yellow wagtail

With a bit of patience and a lot of luck I did also manage to get what I think is my best photo yet of a pied wagtail!

pied wagtail

Brenda writes: “With the season turning there will now be a steady stream of autumn-flying moths, and we got off to a great start today with three new species, two of which I haven’t identified before. The copper underwing is a lovely moth but, like the various yellow-underwing species, we only get a flash of the copper colour when it flies.

copper underwing

James quite rightly asked about size when I suggested shaded broad-bar because they are very like mallow but smaller.

shaded broad-bar

Finally there was a deep-brown dart which laid eggs overnight. That reminds me, the caterpillars I had sadly didn’t like the food I offered but I currently have some tiny light emerald caterpillars enjoying hawthorn from our hedge.”

deep-brown dart

New species for September 15th:
Moths: copper underwing, shaded broad-bar, deep-brown dart

Birds = 217
Moths = 225
Wildflowers = 279