A check of the BBC weather app on Friday night on my iPhone for conditions on Saturday morning lead me to heading out to Hunstanton for a change. Only had a few hours as had to be back home in the afternoon.
A 5.20am departure would mean arrival about 90 minutes after high tide and so perfect timing for a good old walk along the seafront from the centre of Hunstanton first in the direction of Heacham beach then back along the coast to cliffs and Old Hunstanton.
Quick stop off for a McMuffin and drink on the way for breakfast and I was parked up at 6.50am, and a short walk to the sea front soon indicated to me it was a good idea, no a brilliant idea to wear my fleece and beanie hat as it was bloody freezing with the wind being very cold and biting even thought the early morning sun was out as promised.
The walk down to Heacham beach proved fruitless with only Herring and Black Headed Gulls and the occasional calling Oystercatcher flying along the coastline being seen as the tide ebbed.
The only other birds seen during the first 50 minutes of my visit were House Sparrows and Starlings that were either on the beach or in the gardens of the houses on the promenade with the House Sparrows in particular being swept from the beach inland towards the houses and then out of sight within what seemed milliseconds assisted by the strong and gusty winds.
The walk towards the cliffs brought more flypasts from growing numbers, the odd turnstone now being seen doing what they do, turning stone over! Then a pair of Rock Doves (or feral Pigeons?) dropped in with the male attempting to impress the female enough so mating may take place but the female was more interested in foraging.
Herring Gulls were now beginning to take their place on the groynes along the beach.
Walking further along the beach favoured by all the coastal birds when the tide is falling more Oystercatchers and Turnstones were visibly evident as were 2 Little Egret, all enjoying a good old nosey in the many rock pools the tide left behind.
Many Herring Gulls were seen with the shell food they had found rising into the air to drop their potential food to crack it open and I also saw a ‘mexican standoff’ between a Herring Gull and a crab with the crab being very bullish in protecting its life and waving its claws directly at the perplexed gull, I watched for a few moments and walked off but I suspect that the gull eventually won the battle!
No Plovers, Redshank, Godwits or even Common Gull were seen during my time on the coast but a couple of calling Curlew dropped in to the beach at some distance to then disappear behind the ‘humps and bumps’ on this section of the beach directly opposite the well known cliffs.
So with the heaviest population of bird being the Oystercatcher I focused on them for a few minutes sitting on one of the seats provided by nature and got a few images.
After my fill here and a damp posterior saying it was time to get up I headed to the cliffs to see what was happening with the Fulmars, plenty were in the air enjoying riding on the 20+ mph winds. I stood at beach level for a while getting a few pleasing pics, lovely birds these.
After a while at ground level and observing a few areas the Fulmars seemingly were using regularly at cliff top level I headed there. I walked right up to the lighthouse and back on this large expanse of grass, stopping to watch the Fulmars rise from the cliffs utilising the wind to best effect with little or no effort at all.
This area is ideal for kids to play, walkers (inc. those with dogs :)) and those interested in watching the birds from various vantage points. Now when walking back after snapping away at a few Fulmars, some pics from the cliff top below, I heard the unmistakable call of a Whitethroat belting out his song.
I then went onto have a great 10 minutes or so with the boldest male Whitethroat yet, it was not bothered at all by the people up close to it and at one stage I even had to move back from it to enable my camera to focus onto the bird, I was at one stage watching it from about 6 feet away, it was brilliant! It was located in the vegetation on the cliff top here.
Safe to say I managed my best photos thus far of a delightful warbler species as you will see :).
The Whitethroat above even followed me along the hedgerow when I was walking away to go get e coffee and a slice of cake! Another leisurely walk along the seafront followed back to the car which was park past the fun fair, the tide had by now gone out a fair way and all birds were seen as little distant spots of colour and movement.
It was an enjoyable ½ day doing not a lot really ending with a nice encounter with a little common Warbler.
Same words but with some different images from the day can be seen here >> http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2016/7/hunstanton-coast-walk