10
Sep
13

Hossing it down

Looking at the weather forecast last night there was a promise of a seabird passage. Not one you would die to see, but a decent one. The winds were forecast to be strong North westerly with rain. Had we had preceding strong south-westerly’s over the last few days it would have been a different matter. Birds in the Atlantic would have moved north over the top of Scotland and then been pushed south down towards Norfolk. As it was I guessed we would see a decent Skua passage.

‘Hossing’ seems to be a Norfolk term applicable to heavy rain. Well, when I awoke it was ‘hossing’ it down.

There was no rush. High tide wasn’t until 10am or thereabouts so the birds wouldn’t be at their closest until then. I arrived down in Cromer just after 9 ‘o’clock and the passage had already started.

In the strong winds we were treated to small but continuous flocks of Arctic Skuas and Manx Shearwaters with a constant backdrop of Gannets. The odd Sooty Shearwater slid by and a Pommerine Skua did a flypast worthy of WW1 biplane. The occasional Grey Plover and Knot flew west, against the grain as it were, and the odd Scoter flock was carrying a Tufted as well as a Teal or two.

By around 11am the real action was over so we sunk lower towards the crashing waves that were enveloping the prom. Watching the slacker water nearer the pier revealed a few birds we would have missed higher up the cliff; nothing different to what we had already seen, but closer.

Something caught my eye just outside our shelter. A small bundle of feathers sat in a puddle around 10 metres away. I raised my bins. It was a Purple Sandpiper. I guess he had just arrived and was resting. Facing into the wind he was obviously tired and was sat low to avoid being blown away. A bit like us!

Purple Sandpiper

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