Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Some more Seawatching

A quick update post as I have managed a few sea watches since my last blog post.  With some success too which is nice :)

On Monday morning I spent 06:05 - 08:30 at the Spot On, joined by Phil for some of it.  It was a bit gripping to hear multiple points in Dorset had recorded a couple of Pom Skuas, but in all honesty I was more than happy with my haul:

14 Great Northern Diver, 1 Red-throated Diver, 7 Manx Shearwater, 13 Common Scoter, 42 Kittiwake, 1 Great Skua, 3 Sanderling and 100+ auk sp.

All of that lot flew west, except the Kitiwakes that were passing east.  The Great Northern Divers were fantastic to see, some really close (including two almost over the beach!) with others being complete dots (well dots with long necks and big feet!).  The Great Skua powered through really quickly at 06:35, and reached Sidmouth 17 minutes later where Dan was watching.  

Two of the Great Northerns powering through

Flock of Scoter flying west

I tried a sea watch on Tuesday evening with little success, just a couple of Manxies passed, but I tried again this morning from 05:30am.  The weather was not really suited for sea watching off here, a gentle south westerly wind with lots of blue skies! However there were some birds...

There's clearly some good feeding conditions out there at the moment, with Kittiwakes and Gannets on every scan.  I was hoping these birds would attract something better, well they didn't, as the 'something better' flew right on by without stopping!  

The time was 05:55, and that was exactly the moment I went from not seeing a Pom Skua this spring, to seeing one!  I picked up the distant but distinctive shape of a skua, quite a way above the horizon, flying steadily east.  A quick zoom-in revealed it was a pale-phased bird.  I was already pretty sure it was a Pom on structure and flight-style, but I had to wait 'til it reached the 12 o'clock point before seeing the whacking great spoon sticking out its backside (although only viewable with the scope set on 40x plus zoom)!  So with the ID sorted, I just enjoyed watching it very steadily make its way east. A true unit of a bird, and clearly on a mission to migrate!

There is no such thing a bad a Pom. But I will admit, the distance of this bird did dampen the excitement a little.  Still, a spring including a Pom Skua will forever be better than a spring lacking any Pom action!

Only other notable birds this morning during the sea watch were 11 Whimbrel, 4 Common Scoter and a couple of Manxies.  I remained in place until 7am before throwing in the towel.

I added Common Tern to the year list on Tuesday morning - whilst on the phone in my office!  I happened to be looking out the window when one flew low south down the river towards the sea, thankfully I managed to grab my binoculars in time to get a look at it to rule out an Arctic.  The only other species worthy of note that I have been seeing outside my office lately is Whimbrel, with two or three feeding daily on the lower Estuary at low tide...

One with lunch!

I'll sign this post off with a pic I forgot to attach to my last post.  This is the Spotted Fly I saw at Beer Head, which was not far from where the Wood Warbler I was twitching was supposed to be! 

Quite like the atmosphere of this shot, despite the fact the bird plays such a small part in the overall image

Goodnight all!

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