Posts Tagged ‘Purple Sandpiper


Bathing beauties

Don’t you just love a Purple Sandpiper?


Merry Christmas

I’d only just mentioned to the girls that we should keep an eye open for Bob. Sure enough he appeared like some sort of apparition; feeding the gulls as we passed Walcott. It was good to see him. It’s been a long time since we got together and it was pleasing to spend a little time together.

Spending time with people has been difficult over the past twelve months. I’ve missed the camaraderie of friends and family; it was very pleasing Holly made it down from Manchester to spend Christmas with us.

We decided to have a morning walk at Cart Gap; that’s where we were heading when we saw Bob.

Scouring the beach we looked for mammoth teeth. This was the second day in a row we’d searched the shore for fossils. One day I’ll find a nice example.

It was Holly who saw a flash of orange behind the breakers. I suspected it was a Turnstone. No. On closer inspection it was a Purple Sand. Not one but three of them; picking and pecking at the alga on the walls and rocks. A nice find for Christmas.

I hope you all manage some time with family and friends this Christmas, you stay well and have a pleasant surprise or two. Merry Christmas from Tania and I (and Holly too!)


High Tide Interloper

A day or so after a full moon the tide will be high in the spring. Very high.

At Sheringham there are seemingly always a couple of wintering Purple Sandpipers. They love the granite rocks that protect the seafront. More often than not they feed and shelter among them avoiding crashing waves with amazing skill. However, when the tide is very high they leave their granite haven and venture up on to the promenade often being found among the Turnstone flocks. Out in the open they are more easily seen and photographed. We took advantage of this on our Norfolk Speciality Birds Long Weekend Tour two weeks ago.



Attention seekers

We don’t get many Purple Sandpipers during winter this far south. No big flocks anyway. Just a few birds maybe, scattered around rocky parts of the coast. This one was one of three we saw at Sheringham the other day when on tour. They are one of those birds like Gadwall or Chiffchaff that improve the longer you look at them. The intricacies of plumage on a Purple Sandpiper; the feather edges and the subtle tones of colour, are quite attention seeking.


Purple Patch Visitors

A walk along the Seafront the other day gave an opportunity to watch a few waders. The houses that fronted the promenade had unusual visitors to their bird tables. Turnstones continuously commuted between the gardens and the beach. Joining them down on rocks however were one or two interlopers. A couple of Purple Sandpipers, visitors from the north, were feeding avidly.

Purple Sandpipe


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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Feb 2023


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