21st February 2011
Before Christmas I had agreed to give one of my non-birding friends a guided walk of Titchwell. On the way we stopped to watch a Barn Owl sat on a roadside post just past Docking, and after arriving we saw a second one hunting over the marshes west of the main path. A large flock of Siskins were in the alders by the feeders, along with a carpet of Chaffinches below them. The water level seemed a bit high, but we saw the expected waders (Avocet, Golden Plover, Ruff etc) and my first Pintail of the year.
It was my first look at the new Parrinder hide, and it was a mixed reception. The large windows and even floor are a plus, but I didn't even attempt to use the window-opening mechanism. I was puzzled by the use of a connecting door in the lower section, dividing the hide into two parts. That could be rather annoying when the hide is packed and a bird moves along the freshmarsh. I also have to wonder whether more money than was necessary was spent on the "futuristic" design to make the building conform to some aesthetic ideal, or whether there is a good reason for it. Still, its new and its not broken yet, and with those individual seats you can reasonably tell people talking cr*p to "go swivel", so its not all bad.
In a quick scan of the sea I saw the Common Scoter flock, Red-breasted Mergansers, Goldeneye and a Long-tailed Duck, whilst a Sanderling running along in front of us kept Cathy & Emma entertained. On our way back we picked up the Twite flock and some Reed Buntings, and a quick stop at Choseley revealed a few Yellowhammers. After lunch we went home, the first time this year that I've gone birding out of Norwich and someone hasn't been or ended up on crutches!