Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Playing catch-up

I kinda felt, with everything going past the east coast yesterday, that my contractual obligations to the University of Aberdeen may have cost me my patch-tick Great Shearwater. Curse my contractual obligations! Swore I would not make that mistake today. Not a lot I can do about it of course, but tried an hour before work 06:15 - 07:15. OK, but still dark and identifiying silhouettes. Nevertheless, 15 Ruddy Turnstones and that Whimbrel still on the rocks when I arrived, and 2 White-throated Dippers having some sort of territorial fight among the breakers - bizarre. 7 Sooty Shearwaters went north, the first one before dawn, with 7 Manx Shearwaters north too (and 1 south). 17 Red-throated Divers south, and a few auks buzzing about, not least a silhouette, albeit close in, of something that looked exactly like a Little Auk. Please no - I refuse to string a September Dovekie. One to forget. 5 Common Scoters N and 5S, and 2 Velvet Scoters S, 2 Great Skuas north and 8 Common Terns south, 193 Northern Gannets N and 14S, 75 Black-legged Kittiwakes north, 2 south.
A Common Whitethroat in the clifftop vegetation was my first for about a month and will probably be the last of the year.

Went to work watching reports of Great Shearwaters up and down the Yorkshire and Northhumbrian coasts, but was prepared to live n' let live, until mid afternoon a report of about 30 from Flamborough Head made me crack - ENOUGH! etc. I was not going to stand for this. I completed my contractual obligations very quickly and went home, for another couple of hours seawatching 15:30 - 17:30. Whohahahahaaaaaaa!!!! Nothing could stop me now, this was going to be my best seawatch evern and I was going to get Great Shearwater and a Long-tailed Skua for good measure! Nothing could go wrong! Then Goddamit!!! Heathaze!!! Argh! I couldn't sea a thing at first (Boulmer Birder had this problem today too). It cleared up enough to be able to identify things up to a couple of miles, but still far from ideal. Eventually 3 Sooty Shearwaters condescended to power past, but the Manx Shearwaters were mostly feeding (5S, 13 N and 5 circling in a distant feeding flock). A Minke Whale and a Harbour Porpoise were the main entertainment, but there were some terns (14 Arctic Terns S, 12 Common Terns S and 6 Sandwich Terns north). The one of the Arctic Terns dragged a 1st summer Little Gull south behind it, the second of the year. Then another Arctic T
ern was pulling a juvenile Black Tern - not just a patch year tick but a long overdue patch tick, and a Scottish Tick to boot, if I kept a Scottish List, which I don't! ;-) God Save the King. And Ronny Biggs!

Other dross.... 2 Arctic Skuas north, attacking Kittiwakes as they went, and 2 Great Skuas. 10 Red-throated Divers south, 1 N, 35 Eurasian Wigeon north, 5 Northern Fulmars, and 7 Common Gulls north. A few auks. Northern Gannets = 88N 16S, Kittiwakes = 33N 6 S.
Whatever the hell was happening on the English East Coast with its miriads of Sooties and abnormal amounts of castaway Great Shears, and a Fea's Petrel ('but distant' - f*8k OFF!! :-) ), was NOT happening here.

There's always another day. Unless there isn't.


darrell j prest said...

hard luck mate,but still a good day

Boulmer Birder said...

You think its bad, 5 GS flew N at Hauxley. I can SEE Hauxley from my patch but still no luck. Saturday is the day though...

Harry said...

I like your dismissal of a 'distant' Fea's...if these things don't exist, then they won't bother us so much... ;-)