Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dear Santa...

Saturday morning and you have offered 101 varieties of tasty breakfast until the kids have judged which one is of sufficient quality to consider eating. They are on the settee, with Spongebob and other Saturday cartoons nipping away at their brains. You are sat there with a mug of mahogany coloured tea, and all is well in the house. You have precisely ONE hour before the E numbers, sugar and discordant flickering images send the little ones into the sort of hyperdrive that can only be controlled by machine guns. What is to be done? Of course, one goes to the SEA....

...where jeepers, it is pissing down - I should have changed out of my dressing gown and jammies. Still, sat there Arthur Dent-like, I stare at, well, not much to begin with. But I sat it out for an hour (08:00 - 09:00) and got a bit of action in the end, primarily 36 Little Auks flitting north at varying distances. They were in fact the most common auk, with only a few Razorbill/Guillemots (Common Murres) going past. Also an Atlantic Puffin sat on the sea close in (bit of a warning shot for careless Little Auk identifications - in fact I think there was only a couple of Puffins in flight).

Slow, but also 29 Northern Gannets north in the hour, 8 Red-throated Divers (and one fishing just off the rocks with a gang of Common (Mew) Gulls). Nine Long-tailed Ducks north, 7 Common Goldeneyes, and 2 Common Scoters N (1S), with 5 Eurasian Teal S. Two Harbour Porpoises and single Atlantic Grey and Common Seals were in the water, and 15 Ruddy Turnstones with 4 Purple Sandpipers on the rocks.

Comedy moment for the morning was as a Little Auk came past, pretty close in, obviously tired and shagged out after a long squawk, and looking for somewhere to land. It appeared to be about to land right between adult and 1st winter Great Black-backed Gulls on the water, which was probably the WORST place to pick, except for the gulls, who would have approved. Fortunately for the wee auk, it thought better of it and went over and landed somewhere else. Just as it sploshed down and shook itself a bit, the Grey Seal's head popped up next to him and shocked it back into flight. Rock and hard place and all that. OK, I think you had to be there.

When I got back home I chained the kids up and explained to Lizzie about Little Auks, and how they came from near the North Pole, probably next to Santa's house. But Lizzie was adamant that Santa lives not at the North Pole, but somewhere called Reindeerland. And to prove it she asked to be unchained and brought me a pre-printed envelope with Santa's address for her 2007 begging letter (I hope she knows how to spell 'tangerine' and 'coal'), where sure enough the address was 'Reindeerland'. Personally I have my doubts about whether that it the real Santa, but if he's organising the presents then frankly, who cares?

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