Saturday, July 15, 2006

Jumping Fish!

Well, it's been a tough few weeks but now I've got a week off. Hurrah! With the wind blowing from the sea I could smell rotting fish and hear burping Puffins from my back garden, so sneaked away for an hour's seawatching at tea time. Lovely blue sea, light perfect, sun behind, nice and warm etc etc. Sit down and within a couple of minutes there's 27 Manx Shearwaters gone past. Don't laugh, west-coast birders, but that is actually quite good for here. So it's eyes down for scarce shearwaters, still need Cory's for my patch list and this is the time for them. Then as so often happens, things quieten down, then they liven up. Whichever, by 7 pm I've had 188 Manxies go past north - not stratospheric, but for Newtonhill, not bad. Also 2 Common Scoters going north. Males, as you asked. 1 Common Tern south, and 11 Common Teals, came north, turned round, went south a bit and landed on the sea. Not sure what all that was about. Then 2 dark phase Arctic Skuas harrassing a Kittiwake until it coughed up its guts - fantastic display close inshore. That was all, to be honest, but let's be clear - summer doldrums are over, seawatching is back and we are game on for the autumn. C'mon!
[This is the bit where I do my scientist victory dance that involves pretending to stir a big cauldron slowly with two hands while gyrating my bum in an uncoordinated manner and nodding my head in time to imaginary banging dance music. I'm doing it right now, in my pants].

Oh yeh, and there were a few fish that kept jumping out of the water. Fools.

I remember (vaguely related to above) when I got my first scope (1987 - still at school). It was a Bushnell Spacemaster and I felt like the bees knees. Went for a seawatch off the Great Orme, Llandudno, where I lived, and saw a Great Skua attacking a Kittiwake just offshore, The skua was a tick as well. Walked home feeling 7 feet tall.

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