Over the last few weeks I have been pleased to notice an increase in the numbers of barn owl around. I regularly see three in the mornings on my way to work, so perhaps winter has not been as hard as we may have thought.
I'm not sure the same can be said out in the North Sea of late. Yesterday afternoon I managed to get out for a couple of hours and popped over to Barmston to see if the Iceland Gull was till about. No sign of the white-wing, but there was lots of other activity as it approached high water.
There were upwards of 6 Little Gulls and immature Kittiwakes floating up and down the cliff edge, and I managed to get some close-up views of Sanderling, Turnstone, Oystercatcher, and a couple of Black-Tailed Godwits.
What surprised me was the amount of mess all over the beach. Yes there was a lot of human debris, as there always is along the North Sea coast. But what struck me was the amount of weed and mussels. Even more surprising were the dozen or more mature lobsters that has been washed up. The sea must have been particularly rough of late for this to happen! I guess that that has been the effect of the strong easterlies we have been having.
The conditions seem also to have taken their toll on the birdlife. Firstly, I came across the carcass of a juvenile Puffin, and then found a mature Guillimot having a struggle with the surf. On the way back to the car park I found a juvenile Kittiwake perched on the edge of the cliff, seemingly exhausted. Hopefully it made it back into the air and found something to eat as the tide ebbed.
Winter seems loathed to loosen its grip - but Spring will out.