Friday 27 September 2019

Balearic Bonanza and White Stork Update

This windy weather has brought some seabirds into Seaton Bay, and Ian Mc has done well to keep on top of them - sea watching every morning since the breeze began.

Yesterday morning he reported a fairly decent passage of Balearic Shearwaters prior to 9am, 64 west.  This encouraged me to try a mini-sea watch during my lunch break from Seaton Beach, and sure enough I soon saw a flock of six fly west.  I went back in the evening and was pleased to count 23 in just fifteen minutes from 18:45, giving us a day total of 93. Although that's with the sea not watched for most of the day, so I wouldn't be surprised if the actual day total was 150+.

This morning news came through from Ian Mc that there was an even heavier Balearic Shearwater passage going on, he and Mike counted a very impressive 155 west by 09:40. Today was also my birthday, and although I couldn't have made it out for this early watch, when Jess asked me what I wanted to do today my answer was simple.... sea watch!  I watched 10:15 - 12:15, adding another 26 Balearic Shearwaters to the tally, plus five Kittiwake, three Auk sp and a Sandwich Tern. Ian saw another seven Balearics during a mid afternoon watch, and I added a further three this evening during a one hour watch from 17:30, plus a first-winter Common Gull and another Kittiwake.  So adding all these together that's 191 Balearic Shearwaters west past Seaton today, by a million miles our highest ever day count! In fact as far as I can recall this is our first ever three figure, with my previous highest being 71 on 10/9/12. In recent years there's been no decent counts of Balearics here at all, this species seems to be venturing into our part of Lyme Bay far less frequently.  Thanks Ian and Mike for being so helpful with times and counts today, really useful as it's enabled us to work together to get as much coverage on the sea as possible.

Now for an update on the Lyme Regis/Seaton White Stork, and the Sidmouth one which amazingly wasn't the same as ours! The Lyme/Seaton bird (unringed with a tracker and snipped primary tips) was photographed flying over Prawle Point by Pat Mayer on the 19th (the day after it was here), whilst another White Stork bearing a small black ring was stood on the roof of Lidl's in Sidmouth!

Anyway on the morning of 20th I was surprised to get a message from Wild Zoological Park in Bobbington, near Wolverhampton.  Both White Storks were theirs - free-flying display birds that had been whisked away by a thermal the previous day (17th).  And here's a snap of them together...

(c) Wild Zoological

They have names of course, Victor and Violet, and the reason Violet was ring-less was because she came to the zoo with foot and leg problems. Victor is back home now, he flew down from Lidl's roof when he saw his 'keeper', but Violet is still on the loose.  If you see her please let me or the zoo know, she could still be in the South Hams area.

1 comment:

  1. shame white stork had to go back to zoo were doing so well with others