Monday, December 12, 2022

Winter Blues.

 Its been a busy week what with Christmas preparations, visits, socialising and what not. So busy that I didn't really have time to get out on Sunday morning, but, when you live in  the middle of your patch even looking out of the window is birding.

It was one of these non-birding dog walks that caught me a bit unawares. 

On Sunday around 11am I took Peggy for her walk along the coast path just before we were due to leave home to visit relatives for lunch at Berwick. 

One day I will finally learn the lesson, never leave home unarmed! Remember the Pallid Swifts day when I was on a quick stop looking for fungi so I didn't even have my bins? Well this was a hurried stride out dog walk, so, again, no bins, camera or even phone. After all I was only going to be gone for 20 mins and its December.

As we dropped on to the coast path a few local Fulmars were celebrating being back on the cliffs by enjoying the updraft and racing past walkers at eye level. They are very inquisitive birds, I remember once being on the beach when a Fulmar made repeated very close, low, fly pasts of our dog, even turning its head to get a closer look. 

On the coast path, our birds regularly do this, hanging on an updraught making eye contact with passers by. This time there were around 8 birds back and forth, up and down, when one stopped me in my tracks. It stalled for a second then stooped and was gone. What was that? Too short a view to make anything then I saw a bird going away from me along the cliff, even with the naked eye it seemed odd but I couldn't place why so I waited on the view point, I knew it would be back, they can't help themselves.

Sure enough, I couldn't believe it when up popped the bird less than 30 feet from my face, a beautiful smokey grey 'Blue' Fulmar! I've only ever seen a few on seawatches at distance and never like this with local birds. A grey apparition from the high arctic looking even wilder than its white headed cousins.

I stood and watched for five minutes but was conscious of the time and I needed to go. I could have had frame filler photos.  I've been back today at 11am but there are only a couple of Fulmars flying with a dozen on ledges and no dusky guest with them. I might try again later...

Although 'just a colour form' I do like races and forms of birds so was over the moon to see it. Lets hope it comes is more than just a tick...

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