Titchwell RSPB – A summer wildlife paradise by Oli Reville

It is often said, by birders at least, that the summer months are dull and lifeless when it comes to the number of birds present. Spring migration is just a distant memory and Autumn migration is still a couple of months away from being in full flow.

However in many places this scenario changes quite a bit. The end of July and the start of August are the best times to see large numbers of wading birds. For them Autumn migration starts in July, just as children across the country are breaking up for their summer holidays. This is very evident at the moment on the north Norfolk coast with numerous coastal sites teaming with these waders.

There are so many species to see right now along the coast, Titchwell currently has 23 species of wading bird at times and these species are often present as multiple birds. Alongside scarcer species such as Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint are large numbers of Avocet and Black-Tailed Godwit. The real stars, especially for photographers, are the Wood Sandpipers, Spotted Redshanks and Ruff which are giving incredibly good views at times, sometimes as close as 15 feet from the Island hide on the fresh marsh. It is somewhat of a novelty to have these species at such close range and birders of all experience levels have been flocking to Titchwell to see this wader bonanza.

As August progresses the number of these waders will eventually drop away as they make their way south for the winter, but there will always be a steady flow of these birds at Titchwell.

For birdwatchers, artists and photographers there is currently no better place than Titchwell RSPB. This is a very well known site, changing the tact of my recent articles, and attracts thousands of visitors every year. It can get very busy at times, especially on weekends, so it’s important to pick the right time of day to go if you want a quieter experience.

At the moment an evening visit is the best time to appreciate the views and peacefulness of the reserve. From about 6pm onwards you may find that you are the only people present on the reserve, giving you free access to all the hides and being able to pick the perfect spot from which to view the large amount of bird species on offer. Evening is also the best time of day for the light as it is now in the west so viewing is not obstructed in any way.

While not a site of mystery it is a place that new birders can really cut their teeth and with the activity of birds on show it really is reinforcing its reputation as one of the UK’s premier wildlife watching sites.

Oli Reville