Skittering to 100

I just looked up the word “skittering” to check that my idea of the definition was correct. It was! “moving lightly and quickly or hurriedly”. And that’s exactly how I saw my 100th bird species for 2023…it was skittering. Any ideas?

While you’re thinking about that let me say that I’m writing this in the early hours of Sunday morning as I know I won’t have time to do it when I get up later this morning! Brenda and I have just got back from playing at a Ceilidh in honour of a musician friend of ours, Derek Paice, who has retired from the Ceilidh band he ran for many, many years. It was a lovely evening, prior to which I managed to grab a walk on Holkham beach on what turned out to be a beautifully sunny day.


And it was on the edge of the beach, with the tide coming in, that I saw species number 100: sanderling. These superb little waders habitually run around on the shoreline like wind up mechanical toys, and today there were lots of them around. I had luckily thought to bring my half-wellingtons with me (if you’ve not come across these do look them up – highly recommended: [and no, I’m not on any sort of commission!]), and so was able to allow the water to come in slightly around me, which gave me the opportunity to stay very still and let the sanderling skitter by at close range. They are very photogenic!

synchronised sanderling skittering!

I then headed back through the dunes to see if there were any shorelarks or snow buntings about. Just into the first bit of dune some movement caught my eye and there was a single snow bunting. They are often seen in small flocks in winter, but this one may have just arrived on our shores and was on its own and seemingly quite reluctant to fly: I approached it cautiously, expecting it to fly off at any moment, but we then spend five minutes or so quietly moving through the dunes together, whilst I took a lot of photos. A lovely encounter.

a snow bunting showing just how amazing their camouflaged plumage colours are on a sandy beach

New species for January 21st:
Birds: sanderling

Birds = 100
Moths = 0
Wildflowers = 11