Sunday, July 24, 2011

Seawatching 'n'that....

Last nights northerly was still nagging this morning dropping overnight temperatures to 9 degrees.

Nothing else for it, I'm off seawatching, my first session of the year. A short walk found me atop the cliff on a mouldy old deckchair pointing east. As I expected so early in the season, the scene was dominated with breeding species, Gannets, Kittiwakes and Terns. After only 5 minutes, a shearwater came into view from the south, and not a Manx. Balearic Shearwater! A patch tick, and my first shear' of the year too. A nice dark bird showing distinctive pale belly and wing linings. It was flapping along quite slowly, zig-zagging offshore then inshore again then landing not far off but the swell took it out of sight immediately, and it wasnt seen again.

Arctic Skuas were in reasonable numbers with 8+ seen, 1 Bonxie distantly North, then a tiny, black Storm Petrel slipped over the swell for a second then lost to view. A very brief snippet but enough to add it to the list.  Two patch ticks in a day, cant be bad.

Other 'padders' were 3 Puffins ( a year tick, what a disgrace), 1 Roseate Tern, 4 Goosanders N and 2 Whimbrel S.

The rest of the day was spent tidying part of the garden and putting some plants in. A few butterflies were seen, Small Copper, Small Tortoiseshell, Green veined White, Large White and Small White, the latter egg laying on the nasturtiums. A Chiffchaff fed in the overgrown corners and a Blackbirds sun bathed between feeding its second brood.

Our Garden....

Our Drive, its coming along nicely... ;)

Sawfly larvae plundering the small birch - the insect is called
Craesus septentronalis.

A few bits of note from yesterday -

The farmer cut the back field behind us for silage on Friday night. In the process he chopped up a Grey Partridge, leaving its brood calling from the side lines. I hope they can look after themselves, small creatures hiding in the long grass have little chance to escape a big mower doing 30 mph around the field. Squatting and hoping it will go away is just a recipe for disaster.

On Saturday morning a big Lesser black backed Gull and 5 Magpies were squabbling over the partridge remains while a Buzzard picked off other exposed small wildlife.

As we watched from the kitchen window and adult Mediterranean Gull flew low around the field then moved off south. A lot of insects must have been disturbed as the sky was full of hirundines etc with many Swallows, quite a few Sand Martins and a handful of House Martins and Swifts.

In the wood, Broad Leaved Helleborines are coming into flower and Giant Bellflower is in bloom along the lane.

Not a bad weekend then...


Anonymous said...

Beautiful garden,I could sit there all day in that sunshine (actually I could sit anywhere in the sunshine!)
The caterpillars really cheered me up on a gloomy Sunday evening, thats what its all about innit :)

Alan Tilmouth said...

Good to see your getting in on the action, I'm going to suggest we put a bus on from Newbiggin one day to keep you company, it'll be a Saga day out!

Stringer said...

I saved a corn bunting nest from the mower on friday, they fly along with those toppers don't they. I saw where the bird was carrying food into the grass so stood there while the farmer mowed a 20M radius around it.

Once the mower had gone the bunting came back and carried on feeding in it's island of long ryegrass.

One nest saved, but I wonder how many get mowed every year, silage is dreadful, no wonder we've got no corn buntings left.... 8(

PS - I had what I assume was the same balearic past here at about 5.40ish ?