Sunday, August 13, 2006

Do your seabirds lose their flavour...

... on the bedpost overnight?? Cos mine seemed to have very much the same flavour this morning. Seawatched for another hour-and-a-bit, til I got bored, in a fresh northerly (boo!) for 7 Great Skuas, 2 Arctic Skuas, 1 Manx Shearwater, a few Common and Sandwich Terns, and 3 Common Scoters. Gannets coming past too - didn't bother counting, but it was about the same as yesterday i.e. 300 per hour north, but with lots v distant mostly south, so it's all feeding movements. At least the Arctic Skuas were entertaining, both v close in and after their brekkie. I might have missed the first one, a gorrrrrgeous very pale adult, as it was under my line of sight, but was alerted by the noise of a Sandwich Tern in evident distress - the distress being that it had an Arctic Skua attached to its primaries.
Behold.. her Bounty! Pt 2
A chatty man with a dog asked about the eerie whistling noises he hears offshore coming from some black-and-white birds. I explained in detail how in mid-late summer, Little Auks fly down from the north and hang around adult Guillemots and Razorbills, bullying and harrassing them with high pitched whistling until they force the adults to disgorge their fish. If a joke's funny the first time, it's funny every time, I say.

It was surprisingly chilly, and when I went for a good poke round the Mill Gardens, bushes, etc of Newtonhill a deathly quiet predominated. Eventually managed to chivvy out a few Common Whitethroats, Willow Warblers, Blue Tits etc., but not a lot happening today.

Back out at tea time for another look round and another hour starting at the blank sea. Jeeeeesus I need a north-facing bit of coast. Another 6 Great Skuas, 4 Manxies, 4 Arctic Terns. I know the North Sea is full of Sooties just now, but I aren't getting them facing south east. There's some Balearics around too, but I'm never sure with these*, if they're on their own in the North Sea, or with something like 4 Manxies: there's some sites and people where you can pretty much trust the seawatch reports coming out to be gen, but I also feel there's a lot of stringing. As if some people who don't seawatch often feel they're owed 1 good bird each time they get out, and basically it's Cory's and Balearic Shearwaters, and Sabine's Gulls, that are easiest to string. Oh, and juvenile Long-tailed Skuas. yeh right. There, I said it. How arrogant is that? Note also how Little Shearwater claims have dried up since fellow birders saw through that little ruse. OW! Go to bed, Martin, nurse has your tablets here.

*except mine of course. That was a stick-on.

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