Tuesday, 20 October 2009

My Bird Of The Year (So Far)

Nice to have some seawatching weather! And what a highlight we had, though it wasn't a Fea's Petrel!

Just before 08:50 Gav called a small Skua heading east towards us along the beach. It was a stunning juv Long-tailed! TOTALLY STUNNING!

It flew past about eight to ten metres in front Gav, Ian and myself. What a teeny bird, and the plumage on it was immaculate. Think it's the closest I've EVER seen any Skua, and I've seen a heck of a lot of Skuas! What a fantastic bird, from the end of it's dark tipped bluish bill to the tip of it's two small and blunt projecting tail-feathers. THRILLED TO BITS!!!!! My second patch
LTS, the first being an awesome spring adult.

Because I'm an IDIOT I didn't have my camera with me, but later I returned to the spot with my camera and asked Gav to take a photo of my impression of the Long-tailed...

Wow - uncanny!

OK - so I look nothing like a Long-tailed Skua! Where I'm stood though is the distance it was, at about the height of my head. What an incredible local patch experience!

About fifteen minutes later, it was in front of us again, but soon drifted off NW over town.... I wonder where it has wound up....

I sea watched 07:40 - 09:30 and again 09:50 - 10:30. I only counted Gannets during my first watch and got up to 176. The other scribbles in my notebook include (east unless stated): 1 Red-throated Diver (landed on sea), 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Diver sp. (west), 1 Common Scoter, 2 Red-breasted Merganser (west), 2 Great Skua, 23 Common Gull, 2 Med Gull (1w in-off, 2w west), 23 Kittiwake, 1 Common Tern (juv), 3 auk sp. and VERY frustratingly, a distant and brief Petrel sp. (a small dark one, NOT a Fea's!).

I've just noticed on Gav's blog that Red-breasted Merganser was a year-tick for him... I did wonder why when I disagreed with the RBM ID he wrestled me into the shingle and rubbed seaweed in my face until I agreed....

I've found another interesting blog, I heard it being mentioned this morning... Cream Tea Birding. Obviously the frequent mention of cakes makes this blog an instant winner for me, but I was really hooked when I scrolled back to 29th April '09.

There's a photo of the crowed gathered at the Portland
Collared Fly twitch when the blogger was there....and guess what two backwater birders are at the back of the crowd?... Take a look HERE.

Bun certainly gets the 'most relaxed' award, and I'm going for 'best dressed'...

As a footnote, I didn't actually disagree with the RBM ID, in fact I called them....wish I didn't though! Actually, thinking back, they were probably just Mallards....

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