Thursday, September 13, 2007

The most beautiful dojo in the world

I had to go down to the sea again this morning, 06:40 to 08:15, but with a southerly breeze the idea was that I would do the first 30 min at the sea, satisfy myself there was nothing happening and go bash some bushes for an hour. And the first ten minutes, tis true, I saw nothing at all. Then a Killer Whale surfaced powerfully about 1 km out! And did it again, high enough for me to sea the clean white patches on the sides, and a grey saddle. No hallucination this time. That was better than 'McFadden scores and it's 1-0 to Scotland at the Parc des Princes', which is saying something. Suddenly the sea didn't seem so boring.

Except it was, but a trickle of Manx Shearwaters (20N 2S) and Sooty Shearwaters (10 N) kept the interest level hovering just above comatose. Then about 7:20 the alarms rang, whistles blew and claxons sounded, cos at about 2 km out, clear as day was a Great Shearwater heading north. The dark cap was obvious, and the powerful deep banking flight that made the Manxie nearby look like a wimp. It is 16 years since I last saw one of them (Strumble Head*, Wales). I punched the air with a 'yes!' - scribbled what deatils I had in my notebook and looked up to see another one going past - same distance! Total time, 2 minutes... out of 1.5 hours, then everything went back to near-comatose.

Also 23 Red-throated Divers (22S, 1N), 151 Northern Gannets north and 72 south (quiet, see), 67 Black-legged Kittiwakes north, and 7 south, 9 Common Scoters and 3 Velvet Scoters north, 1 Great Skua north, 13 Sandwich Terns (8 S) and 32 Common (Mew) Gulls south.

News today also of a Great Shearwater at Collieston and 1 at Auchmithie, so I would have said that maybe the English ones of a couple of days ago are making their way slowly up the coast, except for this report from last Friday - take a look at the big b*stards here.

*Strumble Head. I had come down fom Llandudno (where I lived) with Alan Davies on the offchance cos conditions looked good, and about 3 hours into a 6 hour seawatch in a seawatching hide/concrete bunker packed with birders I spotted a big shearwater coming towards us, and I couldn't really see what it was apart from the flight action looked like Great Shear... but with lots of other birders around you don't want to make a mistake, so I held off for a few seconds, until someone else started... 'Err... I've got a ... large shearwater... about...' and I thought NO! I'm not letting someone else get this one, it's mine. And called it: 'Great Shearwaterat 2 o'clock about 1 km out with Kittiwakes'. Fortunately it was one, and Welsh ticks for all!

5 comments:

Harry said...

Nice one on the patch/ Scottish tick Great Shears: not seen one all year here, but then the winds etc have been all wrong.
H

darrell j prest said...

nice one martin,but they are all radio controlled by me at my green withens bunker,if im seeing nothing then im taking everyone with me

Alastair said...

Very, very nice patch ticks Martin. Saw you'd scored and rushed down to the sea ... I think I'd swap Great Shears for a close Orca and both are a considerable improvement on my own efforts (which weren't that bad) and much preferable to Darrell's 2 mepits and a wren (been there done that).

Tom McKinney said...

Excellent! Saw it in the pager and bought you a metaphorical pint as congratulations.

Boulmer Birder said...

Woe is me. Have you any idea how green I've turned! Get ready for Monday, more northerlies on the way...