I've just been down to Craster for a seawatch. There is a hint of NNW in the air but as its swirling from the east, hopes weren't high, and as it happened I was right. There was no passage at all, just the local birds loitering and feeding on what looked like sprats rather than sandeels. There were good numbers of Gannet, Kittiwake and Sandwich Tern, with a few Fulmars and Shag thrown in. I gave it 30 minutes before coming home.
What is more concerning is the lack of certain species now. For example Arctic Skua and Merlin. 10 years ago at this time you could look out to any calm sea and within a short time you would pick out a dark Arctic Skua chasing a kitti or tern in the distance. I'm still waiting for one this year.
Merlins too have changed. Was a time when once late July came they were a day bird up the coast here. Right until November, when numbers dropped and the birds took up the familiar wintering sites along dune lined sandy beaches. I'm now lucky to meet one or two in a full year, and again 2015's patch list has a blank space that requires a tick.
I have no idea what has changed with these two species, but I know that something is not quite right out there...