Birdwatch: winter brings razorbills out to sea to feed

Birdwatch: winter brings razorbills out to sea to feed

Out of its breeding plumage, the striking black-and-white bird can be seen diving to catch fish

Seawatching – staring out to sea in the hope that birds will fly past – can be a gruelling pastime, often with little reward for your efforts. But I had high hopes as we set up our scopes on the shingle beach at Cley, soon after dawn on this mild autumn morning. For this site, on the north Norfolk coast, is one of the best places in Britain for seawatching.

We were immediately rewarded with a pale, slender bird just offshore: a red-throated diver, moulting out of its breeding plumage for the winter ahead. Further out, gannets banked above the waves, a flash of black-and-white against the steel-grey seascape.

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