Posts Tagged ‘Turnstone


A Good Feed

A turnstone is not an unusual site here in North Norfolk. However a Turnstone feeding on a Sperm Whale is quite a unique site. The 13.9m sub adult male washed up last week at Weybourne and immediately formed a dining table for several species of birds.



There are some unsung heroes within the birding world; people that spend an awful lot of their time involved with bird recording, from which we all benefit. Pat and Dave Wileman are two of these heroes.

They religiously take note of ringed birds seen in and around Cley-next-the Sea. Not only the ones they see themselves but also those seen by others and they regularly produce an updated document detailing the sightings for those of us that are interested. The report makes for an informative read and contains some spectacular recoveries of birds that make seemingly ‘impossible’ journeys.

Enduring near arctic temperatures (I’m turning into a southern softie) I took the following compilation of photos this week on the shingle ridge at Salthouse just east of Cley on the Norfolk coast. They are of a ringed Turnstone and were taken in an attempt to piece together the ring number. By my observation the bird bears a Museum of Stockholm ring and by using the ‘known’ wording on the ring as a sort of ‘Rosetta Stone’ it’s possible to compile the order of the digits below the lettering as 4595522.

The bird had been seen at Salthouse before and was recorded in Pat and Dave’s document. I was able to glean that the bird had been ringed in Sweden on the island of Nidingen, Halland in the Kattegat which is actually off the west coast. That was on 7th September 2012 when it was a first winter bird. It was still there when it was re-trapped the following day. It was next seen at Salthouse in Norfolk the same year on 24th November and it was still around in the new year on 12th February. The Turnstone was again at Salthouse the following winter on the 26th November 2013.

We can’t prove it from the information we have (at the moment) but the implication is that this little Turnstone flew from Sweden to Norfolk in 2012, Norfolk to Sweden in 2013, and back again at the end of the year, Norfolk to Sweden in 2014 and back again to Norfolk this winter. A total of 4195km – as the Turnstone fly’s – another little hero.

Compilation 2014 12 09 Turnstone Salthouse Norfolk_Z5A5566


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


Spirit of Turnstone

Maybe the Turnstones were after insects on the windscreen or perhaps they have become habituated to people throwing titbits onto the bonnets of their cars. Whatever it is the sight of these little wading birds climbing over cars on a tour the other week was quite bizarre.


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Feb 2023


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