Sunday, September 18, 2005

The morning after the night before! 17/9/05

Yet again the weather had played it’s part, unfortunately this time it had chosen Friday. All day at work the pager updated the seawatching numbers from various parts of the coastline, Leach’s Petrels, Pomarine Skua, Long-tailed Skua, Sabines Gull, Sooty Shearwaters these would all be new………would any of these be passing tomorrow morning, the weather forecast suggested that it would probably be limited to the first hours of light if it was to continue

I set the alarm for 5am, I was away by 5:35. The Tawny Owls were very vociferous as I left the house, and another bird “kevicked” just a mile from the house. En route also produced a new Little Owl location, I have realised this year by cycling the lanes how under-recorded this species is in Norfolk.

I arrived at Sheringham at 640am, Oscar and Pete were already set up and had kindly transported my scope, tripod and fleece.

Anyway, over the next 3 hours we worked the sea pretty hard, along with another unfortunate group of birders whose work had prevented them witnessing Fridays spectacle.
The highlight for me came early on when 2 Skuas close inshore went past us; one clearly much heavier than the other - an Arctic, the bird was not a Bonxie, the jizz, size and flight action confirming a juvenile POMARINE SKUA.

If hadn’t been for yesterday we would probably have been satisfied with the haul of 60 Red-throated Diver, 500 Wigeon4, 500 Teal, 3 Arctic Tern, 6 Bonxie, 13 Arctic Skua, 1 Manx Shearwater, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 10 Pintail, 150 Gannet, 5 Brent Geese & 1 Shag.

The sea flattened and around 11am we called it a day. I headed off for Cley, and Pete and Oscar decided to walk out to East Hills (this proved to be a very good decision, they met Rob Martin out there, whom had found an adult male Red-breasted Fly).

I did Daukes, and had a few waders, inclusive of Little Stint, but most obvious was the big arrival of wildfowl. A cup of tea and some of the infamous Arkwright chocolate cake refuelled the batteries, and with few options I decided to try another couple of hours sea-watching.

Occasional Red-throats were still passing, as was lines and groups of Scoter, it was one of these lines that became provider. I was on to a line of 20 Common Scoter, but there was a Grebe tagging along to the rear, I zoomed the scope up, the short neck and overall length of the bird discarded Great Crested, however it was not a “small grebe” the wing pattern was obviously similar to Great crested but lacking the amount of white you see on a flying Great Crested, but with white on the forewing and tailing edge, this combined with the dusky appearance of the neck sides I knew I was watching a RED-NECKED GREBE, a real bonus, although I guess I would have swapped it for an adult RB Fly!!

131 species

46 miles

229 species NMYL (I took Ruddy Shelduck off!!) Only 40 miles on the bike, but also, probably 10 miles of walking on the Blakeney Point shingle.