Monday, 23 November 2015

Nov 23rd Sheringham

Sunrise from the train window
The Norfolk coastline has been an exciting place this week. Winterton especially has everyone talking as a humpback whale has been spotted there for about a week now. It is the third year it has visited Norfolk now and it sounds like it is the same individual following the herring migration along the North Sea down towards Suffolk. You can read all about it here . I will probably not go and see it as it is impossible to predict when and where it will show up next, but who knows.

Herring Gull
I'm at Sheringham this morning for a spot of sea watching. I took an early train up here, mesmerised by the beautiful sunrise along the way. Last week's stormy weather has blown many seabirds off course and have ended up along the North Norfolk coastline. There has been many amazing birds recorded here in the past few days, including grey phalaropes and great northern divers. The sea was a lot calmer today with the tide going out when I got the shelter. Amazingly, there were no other sea watchers around and I had to scan the sea on my own for about an hour before someone finally showed up. Thank goodness he did as I had no idea which distant dot was what.

Black-headed Gulls
I must apologise for the terrible shots I have taken here. They are a bit abstract I know, but they were distant and flying quite fast. Together we found; gannets (so many of them), red-throated divers (quite a few of them), cormorants, a great crested grebe, flocks of eiders, scoters and brent geese, and there were possible sightings of skuas and little gulls albeit very distant in the horrizon.

Great Black-backed Gull (I think)
Red-throated Diver
Same again
Common Scoter (the black dots)
Brent Geese
There was another first for me today out floating on the sea. I have seen my first ever little auk! These are tiny birds, starling-sized, and breed up in the high Arctic where polar bears roam. Thanks to the recent windy conditions, many of these birds have been blown towards the Norfolk coast. My first ever little auk was sadly gobbled up whole by a hungry gull, fortunately I managed to spot a few more flying by undetected by the gulls. One landed close to shore, but it was still difficult to locate. The waves kept hiding it and the current was moving it along the coastline at a surprising pace. It meant when I finally located it, it had moved yet again when I tried to relocate it through my camera lens. It was like looking for a small black and white needle in a continuously moving haystack that kept moving the needle! I gave up and settled with drawing it instead.

After a while, I was getting rarther cold and decided to have a walk along the front to see if I could spot any purple sandpipers. I didn't see any though, but I encounter some turnstones foraging beside me and there was a ringed plover feeding on the beach, making full use of the exposed wet sand before the tide comes back in again.
Ringed Plover

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