Saturday, 11 November 2017

Shorelarks and Snow Buntings: an afternoon stroll at Happisburgh.

With lots on the agenda for the next couple of days and a surprisingly mild afternoon, Linda and I wrapped up and drove out to Happisburgh to look for the reported Shorelarks...

For those of you who haven't heard of this pleasant east coast village, it has several claims to fame. Firstly Happisburgh (pronounced 'Hazebrer') was the site of an incredible archaeological discovery in May2013, when a set of fossilized hominid footprints that date to the early Pleistocene were exposed by beach erosion: dating back 850,000 years, these are the oldest hominid footprints found outside Africa!
Happisburgh's other claim to fame is that the striking lighthouse on the cliffs was once repainted by Anneka Rice in one of her 'Challenge Anneka' programs. Unfortunately, she apparently used the wrong paint, so the local community (who own the building) had to restore it themselves at considerable cost!

Linda and I arrived at around 2.30pm and paid for an hour's parking. A brisk walk southwards along the cliffs soon revealed a flock of Turnstones which (with the help of a friendly visitor's 'scope) could be seen to hold ten or so Shorelarks. We eventually enjoyed great binocular views both on the clifftop and on the beach, where a splinter group of five flew down to feed. While we were photographing these, Linda noticed a flock of fifteen or so Snow Buntings perched on the face of the low cliffs. These were hard to see without taking risks, but at one point the flock flew around the lighthouse field before returning to the cliffs.

And so home, via Walcott where the tide had pushed the reported Purple Sandpiper off the beach and groynes.

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