Is it a bird, is it a penguin or is it a guillemot?
- Credit: Archant
There was excitement on the north Norfolk coast today after reports of a lost penguin on Trimingham beach.
The photo of the black and white bird was taken yesterday afternoon and the snapper believed it was a penguin.
But it is now understood the bird is a guillemot which is a common seabird in the UK.
Photographs of dead mammals which were washed up on the beach were also taken.
Charlotte Casey, who posted the photos on social media, said: 'A friend of mine was up at Trimingham beach and saw yet more evidence of the damage that the Beast from the East left us with.'
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After the Best of the East and Storm Emma, thousands of dead fish and sea life were washed up onto north Norfolk beaches.
A spokesman for the Sea Life Centre in Great Yarmouth said: 'The storms have also been causing mammals to be washed up on our beaches, and it's happening up and down the UK coast, not just in East Anglia.'
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Dave Bickle, from Stalham, said guillemots were common seabirds that were frequently spotted on the coast.
The UK's coasts have many stretches of sheer cliffs where seabirds breed and the guillemot is one of the most numerous. It comes to land only to nest, spending the rest of its life at sea, where it is vulnerable to oil spills.
Dark brown and white, not as black as the similar razorbill, it has a 'bridled' form with a white ring round the eye and stripe behind it.
Debs Cook, RSPCA East Norfolk branch manager, said if a penguin had been washed up on one of our beaches, it would not have survived for long.
She said: 'Penguins are not used to these waters. I have never seen a penguin on our coast.'
The news comes just weeks after North Norfolk residents were warned after thousands of dead starfish, crabs, and other fish washed up along the district's beaches.
They were carried ashore by Storm Emma and raised concerns with beach-goers and dog walkers, after two dogs died from eating washed-up and contaminated sea life in 2017.