Saturday, 17 October 2009


Yesterday was another day that promised much. The strong northerly winds and overnight showers suggested that Norfolk would be a good idea again.
We started the day at Horsey Gap where a Pied Wheatear had been present for a couple of days. Getting out of the car we discovered how strong the winds really were-I should have taken by thick fleece with me. Unfortunately we met some of the birders that had been present the previous evening, and the Wheatear was being continually harassed at very close range, and it had in fact flown off. A Northern Wheatear had been seen earlier in the morning further down the track, and there was a hope that the Pied had joined it. The habitat was ideal, but there were no birds at all, apart from several photogenic Stonechats.
We eventually left and headed north, scanning the fields nearby in the hope of locating the resident Cranes, but presumably they were sheltering from the winds in the reed beds. A quick scan of the sea at Walcott suggested that conditions would be good for a sea watch and so we ended up at Sherringham.
The hardy locals had been present since first light and had racked up impressive totals of skuas, shearwaters and gulls. Over a period of three hours we managed to see all four species of Skua-Bonxies were abundant, often in flocks of up to six, plus a few Arctic and single juvenile Pomarine and Long Tailed. Manx Shearwaters were constant, along with a very close Balearic and distant Sooty, and huge numbers of Gannets, Little Gulls, Kittiwake and auks (Guillemot and Razorbill with a few Puffin plus a Little Auk that I missed) were streaming east. A few late Arctic and Sandwich terns lingered offshore.We missed the Leaches Petrel by arriving too late, and despite hopes, another never appeared.
As we were driving home, the pagers had peculiar 'possible' reports of a Swainsons Thrush at Beeston, and a Veery at Sherringham. Too cold and tired we carried on home.

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