Friday, August 01, 2008

Misery loves birding

Egad! Had to misfortune to be woken by my alarm at 05:30 - curse its nasty little bells. Then I remembered I had thought it might be a decent seawatching gale. It was wet at least, but not really windy, as it happened, but with a good soaking and misery guaranteed, i had to go out. So it was 05:45 - 07:15 in E4, pissing rain and visibility medium.

And guess what, it sucked. Dreadful to start with, with nothing but a Great Skua for ages. 191 Northern Gannets north, 38 south, and I was even counting Black-legged Kittiwakes. A couple of Atlantic Puffins north, and apart from a few Razorbills on the water, no other auks going past - seems like they genuinely bombed out this year. An Arctic Tern north, then a feeding flock of 200 Kittiwakes appeared from nowhere, and that was enough to get a couple of Manx Shearwaters, an Arctic Skua (Jaeger) on the rampage, and 4 Common Terns heading south in a flock, and then 3 Grey Plovers (Black-bellied Plovers). The Grey Plovers were a patch tick, so I would pontificate about the value of persistence dragging a boring seawatch out of the gutter, but... well... it was still a bit sh*t.

I want a Yelkouan Shearwater!! It's the new string for the 21st century, now that no one believes Little (Macaronesian) Shearwaters any more.

When I got to the cliffs this morning, I pulled out my notebook, fine, but no pen. So I pulled out my Remembird, fine, but batteries dead AGAIN! So pulled out my mind, and it was lucky there weren't more birds to remember cos my mind is a little, what's the word... I forget.

Not as bad as my son's mind. I'm kind-of proud, but ashamed at the same time. We were at Crathes Castle (NTS) yesterday and he was happy in the playground and I could only get him to leave by asking if he wanted to go on a fern hunt round the woods... and he cheered and got up to come with us. Geek. He drew the line at Bryophytes, mind. We heard some Crossbills (Remembird safely tucked up with bins at home, where it was no use) and saw one of those deadly toadstools that Boulmer Birder saw - the extrovertly labelled 'Panther'.

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