RSPB Snettisham April 2017


Ten of us met in the Lifeboat Pub at Thornham at 3pm on Wednesday the 12th April 2017. This was an unusual day and time for us to meet but it was done to allow us to get the best view of the wader spectacular at Snettisham. After a very satisfactory meal in the lovely old pub/hotel we set off for the Snettisham RSPB car park and arrived in good time for the reasonably long walk to the area where the wader display can be best seen. On the way we saw Egyptian and Grey Lag geese, Goldfinch and Blue Tit. A small flock of Linnets were seen feeding in the shingle on the beach. The wind was extremely strong and cold but we carried on undaunted, determined to get to the furthest hides. There were already numerous waders such as Avocet and Black tailed Godwit roosting on the shingle spits in the brackish lagoons and large numbers of Cormorants had commandeered a rocky spit for themselves. Using our ingenuity we were able to get a very close look at the birds. This involved standing precariously on a wooden bench!

We arrived at the end of the path and were joined by numerous other hardy souls as the Sun gradually sunk lower. There were some extremely threatening rain clouds which mercifully passed us by but we were treated to a magnificent double rainbow. In the distance we were able to see two Marsh Harriers skilfully using the strong wind to make their way along a hedge. At one point the male passed something to the female in mid air.

All the time the tide was flooding in, pushing large flocks of waders closer to the shore. A large flock would then rise in unison and give a synchronised flying display before settling back on the mud or moving to the lagoons. Some of us went to the hide and some stayed to watch the tide move the birds ever closer. The Sun decided to illuminate the whole scene for a while and we were all stunned by the scale of the flocks and the displays of the birds wheeling around the sky. It was well worth braving the cold wind and the long walk to see such a spectacular display.

A total of 32 species of bird were seen on our visit. Grey Lag Goose, Canada Goose, Egyptian Goose, Mallard, Black headed Gull, Moorhen, Shelduck, Mute Swan, Marsh Harrier, Wood Pigeon, Jackdaw, Lapwing, Little Egret, Swift, Cormorant, Goldfinch, Herring Gull, Blue Tit, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Grey Plover, Black tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Pheasant, Linnet, Knot, Lesser black backed Gull, Red legged Partridge, Curlew, Turnstone and Coot. We also heard Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Wren and Dunnock. A trip to remember. Thanks to Peter and Gill for scouting out the trip(especially the pub!)

Dave Shearing