Friday, 7 November 2014

Wrong Choice

Yesterday, the number of gulls on the Estuary during the afternoon were just too much of a pull for me - I spent all the birding time I had looking at them...

Stuff of dreams...

Despite numerous visits and scans, the best I managed was a probable third-winter Yellow-legged Gull.  There's no reason why it wasn't one, but I just didn't see it long or well enough to be absolutely sure a hybrid could be ruled out.   There was an impressive number of Lesser Black-backed Gulls about too, with 80, all of the graellsii race for a change - we tend to have darker backed birds drop in when the wind is up. Amongst the small gulls were two Kittiwakes and three Med Gulls...

One of the adult Meds

During the morning I had given the sea ten minutes, and was impressed with the number of Kittiwakes on the move, I also noted another four Med Gulls. But this is exactly where I should have been looking during the afternoon, as Portland, Berry Head and even Budleigh recording excellent numbers of sea birds.

The wind kept up over night along with showers, so I didn't want to make the same mistake this morning and was at the sea front for 7am.  Sadly the passage had died off, probably because the wind had much more west in it and visibility was much better.  Still, staying there until 08:30 did give me a pretty nice selection of birds, my favourite being the lovely juv Pom that flew west at 07:30.  Full counts:

16 Brent Geese (7 west, 9 east)
13 Common Scoter
4 Red-breasted Merganser (in one flock, flew west)
1 Goosander (female/juv flew west along the beach)
1 Red-throated Diver
1 Black-throated Diver (very close west, flew into Seaton Hole)
1 Pomarine Skua
3 Med Gull
2 small wader sp. (looked chunky and pale, gleaming white underwings and dark bits around the face, but there were just too distant to clinch - although I think I know what they were.)

Think I might try again in the morning if the weather is right - we are due a Little Auk or two.

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