Monday, August 30, 2021

Bank Holiday

 In a cliched Bank Holiday fashion today began quite miserably. It was fully over cast with regular showers of mizzle, for just long enough to affect the optics.

There had not been too many seabirds yesterday, but the North wind continued so we headed down to Boulmer where we can combine a seawatch with waders and anything else passing. In short, we spent from 6.15am - 11am on a park bench style seat positioned on eight 2ft sq paving slabs (4 x 2 set up) over looking the sea and muddy shoreline. 

The Obs...

There were decent numbers of birds constantly on show with Gannets still streaming past as they have done since last Thursday. It makes you wonder how many thousands of birds have been involved and how many are duplicates going around in huge circles. A few tern and Kittiwake frenzies close inshore were worth perusing as they included Arctic, Common, Sandwich and Roseate Terns and at least 3 first winter Little Gulls pause on the way north.

True 'seabirds' were fewer with 'only' 10 Sooty and 2 Manx Shearwaters, 9 Bonxie and 2 Arctic Skuas. There were divers with 1 Great Northern the first of autumn heading north as well as Red throats with 4 N and 3 S. Wildfowl included 39 Pale bellied Brent Geese, 32 Wigeon, and 45 Teal all north.

Pale phase adult Arctic Skua

Pale bellied Brents.

Around the shore were 129+ Dunlin, 2 Knot, 3 Sanderling, 6 Bar tailed Godwits, a Pergrine seen three times and 2 Yellow Wagtails on the beach.

All in all not a bad morning. Another Fea's slash Desertas ( who actually uses this combined name?) Petrel was eagerly awaited in sea stations along the county coast but it had drifted further offshore at Whitburn.

I remember a time when seawatching was the last bastion of birding that held surprise and intrigue. You never knew what you might see until it loomed up from the waves. Now, a newer version of seawatching means you can sit in the house, wait for a report of rare bird passing Flamborough, Filey, Scarborough or Cowbar, consult your handy smartphone timetable to predict a local arrival time then head out half an hour before and expect the bird to be nailed on. 

I am so pleased birding is not that predictable and that at least this Feas Petrel did the right thing and didn't conform. I like a bird report from the south as much as the next man but I also like to put in the hours without waiting for one individual over the vastness of the sea. 

If you want good seabirds, put some work in, face the elements head on and feel the buzz when a global wanderer pops up...

Joe Pender eat your heart out, 3 Sooties passing...

1 comment:

Gavin Haig said...

Love those seawatching photos Stewart. And totally agree with your words on the pleasure of surprise discovery vs seeing a bird because its arrival has been predicted. Nice, but not the same buzz at all.