Sunday, 16 August 2009


My first bird of the morning this morning as I stood by the Coastguards Tower at Rossall Point was a Bonxie heading west just beyond the surf and giving absolutely f*cking stonking views! These birds are amazing and I never tire of seeing them. Anyone who says that seawatching is boring should was their mouths out with soap and water ten times, just for a start.

The sea state off Rossall this morning

Before I go into what else I saw this morning I just wanted to have a moan about the weather forecast yesterday particularly with reference to what I might have missed. Friday night the forecast said west-southwesterly; 25 mph (looking good) but with rain. Mmm the rain wasn't so good, but if it is showery it would be okay. So I played various rain radar sequences and all suggested a solid band of rain moving in from the Irish Sea and tracking southeast across the Fylde. The problem with Rossall is that there isn't any shelter from the rain, so based on all the zillion forecasts that I check agreeing the same forecast I decided to have a lie in. Mistake! I rolled out of my pit at 8.30 a.m. after it had been light for three hours and there wasn't a drop of rain to be found anywhere! Perhaps the motto of the story should be 'just get up what ever the forecast'.

Anyway, back to this morning. Conditions were good with a 25 mph westerly wind and a high tide at 7.35 a.m., so at 6.30 a.m. I was set-up and ready. A few Oystercatchers were being pushed off by the tide and I had 10 Shelducks fly west just before the Bonxie made an appearance. It was nice to see the Shelducks freshly returned from their moult migration to the German Waddenzee. I tried to take a picture of the Bonxie through my scope but it was just too fast.

Next up were Gannets and I had a total of 32 move through. As usual some of these birds were very close in giving cracking views of their different plumages from juveniles through to sub-adults and adults. A number of Sandwich Terns were on the move and I had 26 in all. The Sarnies can be awkward to count here because they often feed in a huge circle in Morecambe Bay and it can be the same birds coming past all the time.

Seventeen Cormorants were about this morning and because of the wind I didn't count the birds roosting on the Wyre Light. One of my favourite birds, the Manx Shearwater, put in an appearance as well this morning and I had 27 move west . Unlike the Gannets, none of the Manxies came close in which was a shame because they are beautiful birds.

The only other sea passage I had were 4 Kittiwakes west and 9 Common Scoters. A few waders were about including 42 Dunlin, the aforementioned Oystercatchers (30) and single Bar-tailed Godwit moving rapidly west.

On the way home I called in at Fleetwood Marsh Nature Park and had a quick look on the pools. There was very little on the pools and there were no diving duck at all. The water levels were low and the 'tyre' pool was completely dry and the 'CEGB' pool showed dry areas, probably resulting in the absence of diving ducks. All I had were 36 Coots, 4 Little Grebes and 15 Mallards.

I feel we need a bird picture to brighten the page up and below is a shot of a Kingfisher in the hand that Chris recently sent me; thanks Chris.

Now, the forecast for tomorrow morning is for heavy rain showers with a 15 mph WSW wind, so based on what I said earlier I might just set my alarm and go out for a few hours before work. I'll let you know.

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