With the family stowed safely at the inlaws, me and Willow have been able to get some birding in, despite being stuck at work 9-5. On Monday evening a northwesterly felt promising, so I headed straight to the coast. Huddling behind the huts at Winterton it felt more like mid-October than mid-August, with a stroppy looking lead sea pounding the shore relentlessly. Within minutes I picked up a Manx Shearwater, followed by another minutes later. Waders, terns and ducks were also passing by, all moving north perhaps surprisingly. Ten minutes in, a dark shape arcing high over the waves appeared; A Sooty Shearwater. Making the most of the strong wind, it powered north, outclassing the low-gliding Manxies. A few more Manxies headed north before I was joined by a local. There followed a lull, but before long I picked up first one and then a second Arctic Skua heading north. In the next 15 minutes we picked up a further half dozen or so skuas, all adults and some of which hung out to clobber the passing terns. A few more Manxies passed by, plus single Common Scoter, Golden Plover and Grey Plover, both looking fine in summer plumage.
Wednesday morning I tried Buckenham, which has been bone-dry and birdless of late. With a little rain, I was delighted to see some water in the scrapes. This had attracted a few waders; Greenshank, 3 Green Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and 2 Golden Plover. More rain is needed!
After work prompted a trip to Breydon. The tide was already high and a large flock of mixed waders were huddled in the sea lavendar. Highlights were a huge flock of several hundred Avocet, 2 Spotted Redshank and a couple of Med Gulls. A trio of Little Egrets haunted the creeks.
Thursday morning saw me back at Buckenham. No waders today, save a Redshank and 3 Snipe, but a Wheatear was my first of the autumn here and a fine Hobby cruised around low over the grazing marsh, picking off dragonflies. Lots of passerine activity also, with a large flock of wagtails around the cattle, plenty of Mippits and Starlings and lots of finches. Whitethroats, Sedge and Reed Warblers are jumping around in the bankside vegetation in noisy family groups.