14th March 1987
For a few years back in the 1980s I used to live in northwest Norfolk in a village called Snettisham and later in King's Lynn. I moved down to Norfolk from Lancashire so I could live and work in one of Britain's best birding counties. I remember it was quite a cold winter down there in 1986/87 (mind you it often is Norfolk) and spring was slow to start, and my birding more or less on this day 28 years ago was definitely a typical winter's day birding rather than one of early spring.
I started off at Cley and it was dull, misty and cold. Before looking on the reserve I did a short seawatch off 'Coastguard's' and clocked up 30 Common Scoters, 12 Red-throated Divers, five Fulmars, a Red-breasted Merganser, Eider and Guillemot. Dark-bellied Brent Goose were numerous with 426 logged during the morning and later I had 1500 at Stiffkey.
A look on the reserve produced two Ruff, 200 Wigeons, nine Avocets and three Bearded Tits. I suppose what stands out to me are the Ruff, Avocets and Bearded Tits which would all make it a 'red letter day' if they turned up on my patch today!
I lived in King's Lynn at this time and on my way home I stopped off at my seawatching location on the cliffs at Hunstanton and had more winter fayre in the form of 69 Goldenyes, 5 Long-tailed Ducks, eleven Scaup and 600 Common Scoters. So a late spring that year and I didn't record my first Wheatear until 29th March when back home in Lancashire.