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The Most Amazing Bird Spectacle!

We are still coming down to earth after possibly the most amazing bird spectacle we have ever witnessed at Snettisham RSPB this morning. We were out before daylight to get to the shore at Snettisham in time before the high tide pushed all the waders and wildfowl off the exposed mudflats. We weren't alone, some 200 other people including some friends and very familiar faces from the RSPB had the same idea!

The exposed mud rippled constantly as tens of thousands of waders, mostly Knot and Oystercatchers but also Bar-tailed Godwits, Dunlin and Ringed Plovers in the mix all shuffled forwards to keep ahead of the tide creeping higher. Suddenly a group of birds would give up the battle with the tide and break ranks to lift off and fly overhead as we stood on the shingle ridge, and then dipped down to land again on the islands in the lagoon behind us. Then more and more groups of birds took to the skies as their precious patch of mud was covered by the incoming tide. Skeins of Pink-footed Geese took to the air and headed inland to find somewhere to feed, and finally, proving that even Calidris canutus can't hold back the water, there was a whoosh as the final body of birds lifted off and circled overhead.

There were over 100,000 birds creating a mindblowing spectacle as they circled and swooshed overhead. They formed baitball-like swirls in the sky as they circled and swooped in the skies, passing right over our heads as they looked for a new place to roost on the islands and exposed edges of the lagoons in the reserve behind us. The sound of the wingbeats, the calls of the birds, the sight of the sky filled with so many birds on the move at one time is something that will live on in the memory.

Later on, we headed down to the beach at RSPB Titchwell. It's always hard to make progress past the lagoons and marsh, with plenty more waders including Spotted Redshank and wildfowl including Red-crested Pochard but finally we made it down to the beach and set up our scopes. And found them filled with fabulous views of Long-tailed Duck, including a handsome drake in full breeding plumage,and Red-necked Grebe, both just offshore.

It's going to be hard to tear ourselves away from this fabulous place as our week-long Norfolk Houseparty comes to an end tomorrow. But there's still time to squeeze some more birds in before breakfast before we have to leave....

... and we're already plannning to come back this time next year, so if you'd like to join us for a week of fantastic birding and fun, drop us an email on info@thebiggesttwitch.com. We look forward to sharing great Norfolk birds with you!

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