Saturday, 27 September 2008

The One That Got Away, 27th September 2008

At 0755 I picked up a large Shearwater moving west off Rossall Point. I picked it up when it was straight out and didn't have long on it before I lost it out of sight. As soon as I saw it I thought "what the f*ck" and the panic set in. All sorts of thoughts raced through my mind like "why does that Gannet look like a Fulmar"! And on jizz it reminded me of a cross between a Gannet and a Fulmar. The upperparts were dark and because I wasn't thinking straight I didn't look at the tail. It had a dark cap and I thought I could see a dark shoulder mark. The underwing was pale with dark markings. I phoned my mate Ian to see if he was on the coast further south, but alas he was in the cemetery looking for grounded migrants. It will just have to go down as one that got away; but my notebook does read 'possible Great Shearwater!'

Let's rewind to first light at 0655 and the first bird I had when I got out of the car was a calling Goldcrest. The weather was cold with a 10-15 mph southerly wind and out in the bay the visibility was quite poor. The only other grounded migrants were 5 Wheatears.

I walked along the top of the dunes heading west and then came back east along the foreshore seawatching and looking out for vis. The vis was fairly slow, probably because of the blocking conditions further north. I had 15 Pied Wags over, 8 Snipe, a meagre 16 Mipits, 13 Goldfinch, 4 Grey Wagtails, 37 Linnets and a couple of Swallows. A Rock Pipit dropped in and showed very well. I tried to get a few shots of it and they are so awful that I won't share any of them with you.

Good numbers of Cormorant were on the move this morning and I had a total 58. In addition to the Cormorants we had 4 Shag that landed on the sea fairly close in and I attempted to get a few pictures. Attempted is the best word to describe the results as you will see below.

Waders were chased around by the usual bird scarers and as such there were only 215 Knot, a handful of Turnstones, 19 Sanderling and 30 Ringed Plovers.

Turnstone on the beach at Rossall Point

The sea could best be described as slow but steady. Wildfowl were represented by 14 Common Scoters, 2 male Eiders and auks by 4 Guillemots. Sandwich Terns numbered only two and I had a 1st winter Little Gull and later 2 adult Med Gulls flew east. Two juv. Arctic Skuas went west during the morning and both were close in giving cracking views. Talking of cracking views, we had a summer plumaged Red-throated Diver fly past very close in, virtually right above our heads. In addition to this bird we had another 2 and single Great Crest west.

Not too bad a morning but it would be even better if that Rustic Bunting on Walney crosses the bay tomorrow morning!

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