The tumbling display flight of the Lapwing (aka Peewit) is a sight and sound to behold. But never have I been close enough to a performer to hear the wind rush through the bird's modified primaries. Indeed, I didn't even know that happened! That changed last week at Cley, when a Lapwing was displaying within a few metres of Babcock Hide - the personal highlight of an otherwise avifaunally disappointing stroll between Cley and Salthouse with friends Ian and Terence. Rush! Whoosh! Peee-ur-wit! What a wing shape! What a wing noise! What a bird!
I am not a fan of RSPB Titchwell. At least, I like to say that I am not a fan. It tends to be the place that I go whenever I can't think of anything better to do. Yet every time I go to Titchwell, I confess that I love it. There's always stuff to see, and much of it is accustomed to the dense human traffic and thus shows well. Two cases in point are below: one of a flock of Brent Geese that winged straight over my daughter's head, much to her delight; and a Common Tern hunting by the path. Inevitably, I missed the money shot of it catching a fish...
As I write, things have hotted up bird wise on the Northern isles (viz Song Sparrow, Crag Martin, Marmora's Warbler, Terek Sandpiper and Black-faced Bunting). Oh for just one of those in Norfolk this week! If it doesn't transpire, I suspect it's time for some botanising. Time for my own Orchid Summer to start...
Titchwell has another attraction: the toilet block. As many a moth-er knows, toilet blocks often have their lights left on overnight. This means that they attract moths. Perusing the outside of the block scored me a new moth, the local Northern Drab. Unfortunately, it also provoked bemused looks from the gentleman who was relieving himself inside the toilet block, behind the window frame I was photographing... While we are at it, here are a few moths from the garden recently: Common Mompha (a new micro for me), PebbleProminent, Cinnabar (only mys second in the garden) and Scalloped Hazel.
Another first, for Phil Saunders as well as myself, was a displaying male Ruff. This came later in the week at Titchwell. There were a couple of males garbed in nuptial finery, and one gingery bird did the full 17th-century-neck-ruff thing and pranced around trying to court a female. Granted, this wasn't a full-on lek of several males, but it was nevertheless the first time either Phil or I (in our combined 60+ years of birding) have witnessed this special wader strut its hormonal stuff. The birds were a bit far off for photos, but you might just get a sense of the performance regardless.