Posts Tagged ‘Beach


Larking About

Stood in the last of the afternoon light last week we approached a small flock of Shorelark. They were a little flighty but as they settled down to feed we ventured a little closer. It took around 30 minutes to get close enough. However being quiet, careful of our shadows and movements seemed to no avail as a lady bowled up the beach and bellowed out ‘What are you looking at?’ Needless to say the flock immediately took flight much to the chagrin of at least one of my companions. Although all was not lost as the seeds from the horned poppies (which have the longest seedpod of any British flower) proved too much temptation as another lady collecting jetsam further up the beach flushed them back!



A Sweet Desert

Well, it wasn’t a North African dry arid semi-desert but Gorleston promenade was about as close as you can get to it in Norfolk. The Desert Wheatear that visited us mid November chose a mild Southerly wind to travel north and find favour among the grass verges and beaches of our seaside town.

Desert Wheatears are not super rare. They tend to turn up most years, but they always mark the end of migration for me. OK we’ll get the odd very late bird winging it’s way in but the arrival of a Desert Wheatear marks the beginning of the winter drought of migrants. Our only chance now of something pretty good is an unusual weather event. A harsh cold depression over Russia spurring movement from the continent perhaps or something riding on the back of a strong southerly mild wind.  Who knows? There may even be something special already lurking in Holkham Pines … waiting to be discovered.

2014 11 10 Desert Wheatear Gorleston Norfolk_Z5A1378 2014 11 10 Desert Wheatear Gorleston Norfolk_Z5A1491



Suffolk Shingle Snowball.

A trip into Suffolk was on the cards the other day. The second mainland record of Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll was the reason. Named (by Carl Peter Holbol – a keen explorer of Greenland) after Jan Wilken Hornemann a Danish Botanist, this high Arctic species is mostly an occassional  visitor to Shetland and the northern Isles but it was Suffolk that was blessed this time.

There being no trees in its usual northerly haunts, the Hornemann’s habitually inhabits the ground and indeed this individual at Aldeburgh was sifting for seeds among the sparse vegetation on the beach. It was eating almost constantly, it must do to surive. The gut of this particular sub species of Redpoll is designed to take in vast quantities of seed during the short winter day which is then digested through the long winter night.

Adapted to the Arctic in every way evolution has given it snow camouflage – it was a pleasure to see this proper little Snowball.

Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll

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Feb 2023


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