Wednesday 8 November 2023

More Super Seaton Seawatching!

If you've come back looking for the answer to yesterday's 'count the Pigeon' post, you'll have to check back again sometime because this morning I had a thoroughly enjoyable hour long sea watch that I just have to blog about!

Yet another wet weather front arriving from the south west came sweeping through this morning, another fairly rapid one too as it was calm and clear when I went to bed last night and the wind had died right off again by 10am this morning.

I only had time for an hours sea watch, from 07:30, and for much of that the visibility was seriously hampered by rain and murk. However birds were always passing and it was really hard to pull myself away.  The following went in my notebook, all west:

174 Kittiwake, 16 Gannet, 13 Common Scoter, 6 Brent Geese (two three's), 2 Dunlin and singles of Pomarine Skua (juv at 08:15), skua sp. (sub-adult either Arctic or Pom at 08:00), auk sp. and small wader sp.

The first three Brents which quickly headed out

Two of the next three Brents which were a bit closer


The huge highlight, literally, was my fourth species of skua for the year!  I was feeling a bit deflated as the skua sp. that came through at 8am, a pale-phased sub-adult, passed during a period of heavy rain out in the murk, spending as much time behind the waves as it did over them so I just couldn't clinch it.  But at 08:15, closer in another skua came into view low over the waves, it then gained height to beat up a Kittiwake, before dropping back down low to the sea and continued flying west.  A lovely pale juvenile Pom Skua, really cold toned with a pale rump and head and striking double-white underwing flash.  For a split-second after I first spotted it my brain started at Bonxie before I zoomed in and saw the pale and realised it wasn't quite that big - never ever had that with an Arctic!  

The Kittiwakes were great value today.  We rarely get a decent passage off here, and when we do they are usually distant.  This morning they were coming through mostly mid-distance low to the sea, sometimes in really tight flocks but other flocks were more spread out - the biggest being of 32 birds.  Mostly adult birds with about 10% of the flocks being juvs.  Gave me hope for a Little or Sabine's to come through with them, but wasn't to be.

The small wader sp. was a bit annoying, as it could well have been a Grey Phalarope.  A bit like the skua sp. it came through during a period of heavy rain and I only glimpsed it on three brief occasions as it flew west low over the sea, but everything looked right for this species.  Never mind, one for another day maybe!?

A walk along the beach at lunchtime hoping for something left behind showed nothing in the surf, however a flock of 30 Common Scoter flew west just at the time I was looking out towards the horizon. 

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