...has just overtaken the reserve with the report of a winter plumaged black guillemot showing well on the sea off the beach boardwalk.

Ray was the first of the volunteer hide helpers on the scene and confirmed that the bird was still present and the rest of us donned our waterproofs and swiftly (my little legs couldn’t keep up with David) made our way to the beach. Ray was ready for us with the bird in the scope and we all added a new species to our Titchwell list.

Black guillemot is a breeding bird from northern shores with the bulk of the British population breeding in the Northern Isles. They tend to winter ‘at sea’ like many of the auk species and can turn up almost anywhere along the coast. Most birds are recorded flying by on sea so it very unusual to be able to chase after one. This bird is only the 8th reserve record and the first one since 2008.

Unfortunatley our bird didn't quite look like the one in full summer plumage. Ours was just beginning to to get the black body feathers but did have the large white wing patch. This bird was taken on its breeding grounds in Norway.