'Storm Emma' & other ecological events......
The regular ‘Thursday foray’ along the North Norfolk coast with Jason Nichols (8th) saw the aftermath of ‘Storm Emma’ at Sheringham with Lesser Spotted Dogfish and probably Three Bearded Rockling amongst the casualties of the various fish washed up dead. The discolour of the fish out of salt water, a gap in my knowledge of Marine Biology and with mostly only parts of the fish viewable, amongst the marine algae identification of all the species is not possible at this juncture.
Also, here were several dead Lobsters, which were receiving attention from the ever opportunist Turnstones and Common Whelk eggs also adorned the rocks.
The cause of this devastation of marine life, along the east coast has been attributed to storm conditions and a drop in sea temperature, with 2-3C quoted, but how dependable this information is, is not clear.
Two Purple Sandpipers were also here and a juvenile Kittiwake flew along the coastline briefly.
A conversation with a gentleman at Sheringham made a trip to West Runton very tempting, as a collection of waders had been seen there. And so it was the case as 4 Knot, Sanderling and several Dunlin, Common Redshank and Turnstones were present, searching for food amongst the algae and more dead marine life, which again featured Lesser Spotted Dogfish.
Four adult Mediterranean Gulls were also on the sea here, a fine sight in the sunshine and geologically the Cromer Forest Bed can be seen exposed at the base of the cliffs.
Further along the coast 9 Little Grebes were counted on the pond at Walsey Hills where there was also a drake Pochard.
A Water Rail flew across Beach Road, Cley from the sea defence bank and at least 700 Dark-bellied Brent Geese were present with one possibly two B. b hrota ‘types’!
At Brancaster Staithe two Avocet were seen (not a usual occurrence here, personal experience) along with Ringed Plover (one pulling up a Blow Lugworm in the manner of a thrush), Dunlin and Bar-tailed Godwits.
This was followed by a Great White Egret at Holkham Freshmarsh, a Muntjac at Burnham Overy and a Peregrine flying across a field and then across the A149, just south of Stalham.
Some of the marine life affected by the change in sea state
Turnstone finding Lobster to its taste Purple Sandpiper preferring the 'vegetarian option'
Cliffs at West Runton showing the dark 'seam' of the Cromer Forest Bed
Turnstone, Sanderling, Dunlin and Knot Knot and Sanderling
Lesser Spotted Dogfish marine casualties at West Runton Knot