Sunday 24th August 08.
Bit of a southerly breeze going on, maybe good for migrants, but probably crap for seawatching. So I went for a seawatch first. Sheltering in the bay, on the water, was a tight flock of 45 European Shags - probably the biggest flock I've seen here. Then 06:15 - 07:50, a choppy seawatch unrelieved by interest, except borderline - a single Sooty Shearwater going north at distance. 5 Great Skuas (2N, 2S) included one that whiled away an hour dismemebering a Black-legged Kittiwake on the water, and 3 Arctic Skuas (2S, 1N) harrassed the unfortunate survivors.
There was a trickle of Eurasian Teal, with 29 going south in bits and bobs, and 2 Mallards north, 4 Common Scoters north and 13 south. 37 Sandwich Terns, 25 Common Terns, 254 Northern Gannets north and 394 south. Actually looking at it now, it seems like a lot more interesting than it felt at the time. Blessed relief when the light got too in my face to continue, and I went bush-bashing. My blasts of Greenish Warbler calls pulled in a couple of Great Tits and an inquisitive European Robin. A couple of White-throated Dippers on the burn, and a Common Swift with the House Martins over Cow Field may turn out to be the last of the autumn.
Cran Hill was not much better, with the only definite migrant being a Sand Martin (Bank Swallow) with the Barn Swallows at Backburn Farm. although in the vegetation where glorious Mount Doom used to stand I saw a couple of Reed Buntings, and a Common Whitethroat, and as I scanned round from there I saw 2 Common Kestrels (m & f), a Eurasian Sparrowhawk being mobbed by 2 hybrid crows, a Common Buzzard being mobbed by 2 other crows and a juvenile Peregrine circling in the air with a small crown of Herring Gulls. I had a good mind to write a letter to the Scotsman:
'Dear Sir - if the RSPB and other so-called 'conservation' bodies want to know the cause of the decline of songbirds, they need look no further than the uncontrolled proliferation of hookbills in our countryside. When will these people wake up and see that the only good predator is a keeper with a bottle of carbofuran. And there were no 'homosexuals' in my day, either. Yours etc. Colonel Digby-Vane-Trumpington (retired).'
But then I saw a flock of 50 Common Linnets - 25 of them were holding down a Sparrowhawk while the other 25 were kicking it in the head, and that pleased me greatly.
Got home as usual with the cry of 'Where's my tea, wench!?', and was told it was sitting outside on the wall of the house. Wtf? Went out for a look, expecting a migrant chicken nugget to be stuck to the wall, and saw this monster!!
This is it as night fell and it was getting restless and ready to go.
Tasted good, too. With chips and mayonnaise.