Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Windy Wednesday - Parts 1 and 2

The weather conditions were spot on for some decent seawatching off Rossall Point this morning, so by 6.30 a.m. I was sheltering behind the Coastguards Tower with Ian. The first birds I had were a few Guillemots close in on the falling tide. At the same time Ian and I both picked up a small Tern being blown east by the 30 mph westerly wind with wings flailing. It managed to compose itself and then battle west against the wind and it was then that we could see that it was a juvenile Little Tern. The first good bird of the morning. We did have a few Sandwich Terns on the move as well and these numbered 12.

The stormy conditions seemed to be stirring up the Common Scoters and 89 birds moved over the waves.

Next up were the stars of the show and we picked up the first Leach's Petrel cutting across the bay. It was interesting that the first few birds were doing this, moving in a southwesterly direction. It's as if they weren't being affected by the strong winds and being blown in to the bay. Later on they were being blown into the bay and they were passing Rossall close in moving west along the shore. In total I had 15 Leach's during the morning.

 Leach's Petrel robbed off the net

Kittiwakes moved west further out and in total we had about 8 with a supporting cast of 2 Manxies and 3 Gannets.

Ian then picked up a small Skua sp. coming across the bay shearing. As it came closer a lot of features came into view that would clinch it as a 'pale' juvenile Long-tailed Skua. Awesome! The Long-tailed was closely followed by 2 Bonxies and 4 Arctic Skuas. By this time I had to go to work as I had an appointment with a client, otherwise I would have stayed all day. This constitutes Part 1 of 'Windy Wednesday'.

 Long-tailed Skua - juv illustration; 
smilarly robbed off the net

Part 2 kicked off when I returned to Rossall at 4.00 p.m. Straight away Leach's were on the move and in total I had 12 birds west close in giving stonking views. At one stage I had a flock of four! Auks were still around on the sea and there was an even mix of Guillemots and Razorbills.

A few Gannets (3), Kittiwakes (9) and 2 Sandwich Terns moved west. I had my first Pink-footed Geese of the autumn when a flock of 76 arrived from the north and headed southwest. A Red-throated Diver flying high west was also a first for the autumn for me. Skuas were sadly lacking during 'Part 2' but a Bonxie heading west at speed close in made up for a lack of numbers by giving stupendous views. And that was it. It was time to head home and show my face to 'her indoors'.

The wind is easing tonight and veering northwesterly and it is still looking good for some ringing on perhaps both Saturday and Sunday, but we'll see.

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