Friday, August 27, 2021

Not a bad week on the patch.

 Seawatching gets me a bit fired up. So much so that I forget to take any photos for the blog so here is another naked post...

Before the seawatching there have been a few interesting patch sightings this week, mostly while out on dog walks before work.

On Monday, a year first Spotted Flycatcher flew into our village from the coast path. It was picked up flying over open fields where it looked decidedly unusual, until it perched up in a village tree briefly before vanishing not to be seen again.

On Tuesday there was a proper garden event of the mega kind. 

I had noticed a bird soaring over fields behind us so dived indoors for my binoculars to get a better look. With the naked eye, at range, Marsh Harrier was considered but through the glass only a juv Lesser black back could be found. As I scanned a bit further, a small flock of birds high to the West in direct flight caught my attention as they flew North. The formation was a straight line of 4 with a single higher up. Usually these type of sightings here are of Golden Plover or maybe Oystercatchers so I wasn't really concentrating. 

That is, until it dawned on me what I was watching. All 5 birds had long bills and legs and best of all, white wing bars translucently back lit! They were Black tailed Godwits! What a superb garden tick. Black tails are a rare bird on my patch, we have no marshes or muddy areas so all sightings are of birds passing by. When I say 'all sightings' I mean the one in 2012 and in 2020 that both involved small parties in spring on seawatches.

Those 5 beauties take my from the garden list seen or heard to 141 species. I wonder what we miss when we are not so lucky?

Also on Tuesday a Raven flew over the garden calling quietly as it went.

Wednesday followed in a similar vein when, at Peggy's lunchtime walk a Willow Tit was calling loudly along the lane. Almost annual in a wider patch context they are not so regular in our village with most local sightings coming from Craster or Boulmer. 

Now to Thursday. A large high pressure over the north Atlantic was providing a flow of air from south of Newfoundland, past southern Iceland and over the top of Scotland giving a brisk northerly down the Norwegian coast into the North Sea. Conditions that would surely give us a few seabirds passing. This merited a two seawatch day.

Seawatch 1. Cullernose Point 6am - 7.30am

Slower than expected.

Sooty Shearwater 8N

Manx Shearwater 1N

Bonxie 5N

Arctic Skua 1N 1 S 

Common Scoter 4N

Teal 6N

Red breasted Merganser 2S

Roseate Tern 4

Arctic Tern 1

Sandwich Tern 3

Then it was time to get to work wondering if things would pick up later. I'm pleased to say it did but not by much.

Seawatch 2. 3.45pm - 6.15pm Rounding the wave watching to a nice 4 hours.

Sooty Shearwater 33N

Manx Shearwater 19N

Bonxie 15N

Skua sp ( down as Arctic but it was a Long tailed on hindsight. Dropped a bollock there) A dark juv was very small directly alongside a Manx it was around the same size. It then almost collided with a huge Bonxie lifting off the sea making it look like a tern it was so slim. At one stage a Sooty flushed by the Bonxie that was being agitated by the Long tail all in one scope view as a Manx went past.

Teal 82N

Wigeon 2N first of autumn.

Bar tailed Godwit 1 sum plum N

Whimbrel 1 N

Grey Plover 2 sum plum N

Purple Sandpiper 1N

Roseate Tern 1ad 1 juv

Sandwich, Common and Arctic Terns lingering.

Red throated Diver 1S

Puffin 1N  

A small group of 3 Bottle nosed Dolphins lingered off the point.

Not too bad, but no cigar. maybe over the Bank Holiday weekend? Still, mustn't grumble, its been a reasonable week around the home tetrad. 


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