Wednesday, 1 September 2010

BankHoliday Part2

Over the weekend, the wind forecast was beginning to look rather promising, with strong north westerlies in the north sea through Sunday evening and into Monday. This prompted some discussion on the forums, and on that basis, I decided that as we had not had a decent sea watch all year, that Sherringham would be a good idea.  While at Amwell  I had also talked it up sufficiently and  Jan and William also made plans.
Colin and I arrived at 8 am, and it looked pretty good with a fairly strong onshore wind. The main shelter was full, and most of the other places were packed too. I managed to find a spot with another guy on the sea front itself, which, while standing was completely out of the wind, but rather low down.
Initially it seemed to be predominantly Gannets and Kittiwakes , and most seemed to be rather more distant than anticipated. Now and again, terns were flying by, both Commic and more frequently Sandwich. At least two definite Arctics were seen early on. It took a while, but eventually a few Bonxies put in an appearance-usually in small groups, though I did at one point have seven in view. Arctic Skuas appeared later in the morning, and often lingered on the sea waiting to harry the terns. One of four looked rather pale and grey, but although two Long Tails were claimed, I don't think it was one.
Three Storm Petrels were seen, but not by me, and by the time I was able to get a higher vantage point and scan specifically for them, the action started to die down. Most of the (few) shearwaters I saw were very far out, and only two or three Manx could be safely identified. Similarly Auks were very distant. Ducks and waders were more obliging with parties of Eider, Common Scoter, Wigeon, Teal, Dunlin, Sanderling and Oystercatchers passing by.
Not the best Bank Holiday sea watch (and we have had quite a few in Norfolk over the years) but a pretty good three and a half hours.

We headed off to Cley (as did Jan and William) and we met up on Blakeny Point some way west of the car park and joined the small crowd which was hoping to see the Short Toed Lark. It had been seen earlier in the day, but had gone missing some hours previously. Despite waiting, and an organised flush it did not put in an appearance until long after we had left.
Colin and I headed off to the North Hide to see some of the Spoonbills, but we had only got to the Eye Pool when I saw one flying off west over Cley village. We got decent views-Colin got a photo of it flying over the church tower so decided to head to Pats Pool instead.
We spent some time on the waders-a large flock of Dunlin and Curlew Sandpipers were constantly flying around. Also one or two Spotshanks and Whimbrel flew over, and Godwits and duck were present in some numbers.

Just before we left aSnipe dropped in.

A juvenile Red Backed Shrike up the road just east of Walsey Hills was tempting and we joined the small throng. It proved to be rather distant in the bottom of a hedge but the views were good. Reports of Redstart at Walsey Hills was a good enough reason to visit, yet the first person I met claimed to have only seen a Pied Flycatcher. All we could manage were squeaking juvenile Chiffchaffs, two Whitethroat, a Blackcap and a few tits.
Called in at Weeting on the way back home, on the last day the centre was open. Unfortunately it has been one of those periodic years when Ragwort has been abundant, and the last three Stone Curlew remained hidden from view.

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