Sunday, June 22, 2008

Blazing June

So, if this were the 1950s, and I were 12 year-old public schoolboy on 'vac', I'd have looked out the window this morning and ejaculated (careful) 'What a filthy day!' and been disciplined by my (probably smoking) father, before going off to have jolly adventure. Fortunately, life ain't like that... I'm a 38 year-old birder so I looked out the window at 5.30 this morning and thought 'Seawatch!' and headed out. Pissing rain, onshore wind, poor visibility. Shame it was June not August, but I was so busy watching Doctor Who last night that I neglected to finish building my own time machine. According to the do-it-yourself time machine kit I got off ebay, I need nails and glue - where the hell am I going to get them from?? Anyway, to the cliffs. With a fresh southerly, and in 2.5 hours from 05:50 to 08:20, there were 7 (Parasitic) Arctic Skuas (3 north, 4 south), and 43 Manx Shearwaters all north. Not as good as it might have been, but they were all close in because that was all I could see. 359 Northern Gannets north, and 79 south, plenty of Atlantic Puffins and other auks, 2 Common Scoters north, 10 Sandwich Terns and 7 Common Terns. Actually, when I put it like that it sounds a bit shit, but I looked like I was enjoying myself at the time. Still a bit wet, and by 8.20 I had saturated all my tissues (let's face it, we've all been there) so there was no way to keep my scope clear, apart from stripping off and using a t-shirt, and I don't reckon the Fulmars deserve that kind of a trauma.

Cleared up a bit in the afternoon, and we went to Crathes Castle, where there was a falconry display. Kids were very impressed, but US-based readers might want to look away now...

The King of England stole your National Bird.

And what about this... a Bataleur... wild-taken in Botswana, if you please.

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