With the good lady and my two lovely daughters going on a pre-xmas shopping trip to Nottingham last Saturday this left me at a loose end as to what I could do so ….. ….I thought a of a joint plan where I could take the motorhome for a much needed ‘blast’ to re-charge batteries etc. and also have a little birding thrown in, Hunstanton looked best option with the weather and light looking to be the best for avian photography.
I arrived at 9.30am with the sun breaking through and the tide just beginning to ebb after is peak at bout 8.15am. A short walk from the cliffs area of Hunstanton down the path near the bowling green and the birds, in particular Oystercatchers could be seen and heard.
I went to the promenade and saw birds moving along the coast coming inland over the dead calm sea. I look out at the cliffs where the odd Fulmar was flying and made my way along the beach front looking over the wall to see what was about, the answer to that was quiet a lot really, good numbers of the afore mentioned Oystercatchers, Sanderlings, Knot and Turnstones were foraging in the freshly revealed beach, shells and vegetation as well as the usual common gulls in the air.
Initial views of the birds enjoying the high tide were like the Knot and Sanderling below – sell nice to get another angle on the differing birds plumage eh?
At this time the sun decided to go away hiding behind a large bank of cloud – bugger! After about 20 minutes of watching the birds, walking a bit, watching them some more a birder came and told me a Purple Sandpiper was about 20 feet away from me in with a small group of Turnstones, ‘cheers mate, nice one!’ was my reply and sure enough a resting and preening ‘Purp’ was in clear view. It was very comfortable preening itself until a dog walker decided to approach from the right on the beach and all the birds flew!
I then walked along the prom a little further chuntering to myself thinking that was it no more time with the lovely little bird. All the time the tide was ebbing and more people were appearing on the beach with their dogs and families, not loads of the them, it is December remember but I thought now is the time to get down to bird level to see what can be seen and what photos can be achieved.
I walked away from the cliffs on the beach towards the main tourist centre of Hunstanton stopping to watch Turnstones being chased unsuccessfully by Common Gulls who were after the food the Turnstones had found. Brent Geese were close by too with a total of 150ish being along the water with some reasonably close to the shore. The distinctive call of the Redshank was echoing along the seafront.
On a couple of occasions, I sat next to one of the groynes on the sand and waited to see what would come close, Sanderlings rushed around as did the Turnstones, the few more solitary Knot were more steady in their feeding regimes and whilst watching all this with sometimes the birds coming as close as 15 feet or so I saw about 30 feet away the ‘Purp’ again and it was heading my way.
I stayed put obviously and the bird eventually came within 15 feet or so giving me the chance for a photo or two, it was along with the other birds once again spooked by a dog walker this time throwing balls down the beach for it to chase and that was the last time I saw the delightful Sandpiper as it dropped behind a groyne.
My remaining time was spent around ‘the bumbles’ area after spotting that Grey Plover, Curlew and Bar Tailed Godwit had arrived a little further out on the beach now.
I saw two Ringed Plover only but was lucky enough for this little beaut to drop in just in front of where I was walking, I also had a stab at getting some Fulmar shots but with the lack of any breeze and poor light I didn’t manage anything to write home about really.
So, my earlier tweet about going to Hunstanton on a wader quest did not turn out too bad. When getting ready to depart I saw a distant rainbow over the wash and got this image, I like it, hope you do.