Wednesday 16 September 2015

Wade Quest supporting Plover Appreciation Day.

The weather forecast for the north Norfolk coast was horrendous, so much so that we nearly decided not to go plover appreciating, however Plover Appreciation Day only occurs on one day; it was now or never, so off we set in pursuit of our four species with raincoats and umbrella packed.

It didn't look too promising when we looked out of the window this morning!

The weather was though, to put it mildly, delightful, a bit of  a chilly breeze coming off the sea, but in the bright sunshine it was not too cold at all (for north Norfolk). The lovely weather persisted as we walked up to the beach at Titchwell RSPB reserve, where the Wash Wader Festival is to take place on the last weekend in November, and along the way we clocked up our first plover; Northern Lapwing.

Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanelllus mixing with other species on Titchwell RSPB reserve.

Stunning shot of Titchwell RSPB reserve taken today.

Elis and I had my brother Andy along with us who is visiting from Brazil. It was a bird book of his that got me into birding in the first place and it was a picture of a Northern Lapwing in it that sparked my interest. So here we were some 50 years later and looking at lapwings together again.

Brotherly appreciation, enjoying Northern Lapwings together again after 50 years.

Andy's interest in birds did not develop as mine did, as a result on this trip he was seeing all sorts of birds he had not knowingly seen before; among the waders Pied Avocet, Eurasian Curlew, Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwits, Little Stint, Sanderling, Red Knot, Ruff and an unexpected Eurasian Whimbrel that dropped in out of the blue, literally, were all new species for him, not a bad haul.

Sanderling Calidris alba Titchwell beach.

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica Titchwell beach.

A Eurasian Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus dropped in unexpectedly to Titchwell RSPB reserve.

As we walked on, a Common Ringed Plover was clocked up but we were disappointed that there were no Eurasian Golden Plovers on the fresh marsh. A gentleman there told me he had seen some flying off earlier but that they hadn't returned.

Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula seen later on Snettisham Beach.

On the beach the tide was fairly high and there were few waders to be seen where the track spills birders onto the beach, so we walked west. Soon we saw a number of Grey Plovers in flight and that was three out of the four plovers notched-up. 

Fly past by Grey Plovers Pluvialis squatarola, Titchwell Beach.

Returning to the reserve we checked again for Golden Plovers but to no avail, however we did spot some more Grey Plovers on the marsh.

Grey and Ringed Plovers on the marsh at Titchwell RSPB reserve.

We left Titchwell a little frustrated by the lack of 'Goldies' and headed for Snettisham where it was now a little overcast. There we found that the tide was well and truly out, acres of mud as far as the eye could see.

Snettisham beach at low tide, mud as far as the eye can see. Glorious!

A few waders still entertained us though with Dunlin, Red Knot, Eurasian Curlew and Black-tailed Godwits all quite close. 

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa Snettisham Beach.

The plovers, our real targets for the day, included a few singleton Grey Plovers, a number of Common Ringed Plovers and yes! (High fives and relief all round) A flock of some 50 Eurasian Golden Plovers loafing and wing-stretching on the mud.

Eurasian Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria Snettisham Beach.

Success is always sweet and the journey home was a happy one even though the promised rain had finally arrived.

Elis and I had had a great day out and appreciated our plovers as we had pledged to do, but perhaps what was more important was that one person, my brother, who had not expected to do so also ended up appreciating plovers on this day.

PS. Two American Golden Plovers in Ireland and a Eurasian Dotterel on the Isle of Wight today to help locals celebrate this plover lovers' day.
Eurasian Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus Titchwell beach.


  1. Brilliant day! We managed to Appreciate our Plovers in a very wet and grey Kent with Lapwing, Grey Plover and Common Ringed Plover. We also saw Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper and Dunlin, in the mist.

  2. A good haul, well appreciated! I'll pass your appreciation on to the plovers! Cheers. Rick.