Friday, 6 April 2012

Blues Rock and Skuas

Don't worry I haven't gone completely mad and started taking my 'Strat' to the Point to play huge blues rock riffs with insane string bending when a Skua flies past! The 'blues rock' in my title refers to last night's Joe Bonamassa gig that I went to. The only word to describe Joe is 'stunning'! Every time I see him he gets better, which is really impossible because he has always been an amazing guitar player. If you like some rock with your blues, or blues with your rock, or you just like amazing guitar players then look him up, you won't be disappointed!

At first light this morning I found myself at the Point with no shelter insanely standing in the cold west-northwesterly wind, but it wasn't a bad morning so it was worth it. There was some 'vis' this morning, mainly Meadow Pipits heading north across the bay and in total I had 123. Other birds on 'vis; included 3 Alba Wags, 9 Linnets, Reed Bunting and 17 Goldfinch.

Shorebird numbers were a little disappointing mainly due to arrogant, selfish dog-walkers who think that it is perfectly acceptable to allow there 'dear little pooch' to chase waders! Don't get me started on that topic! I had 889 Knot (all heading west), 52 Turnstone, 134 Oystercatchers, 73 Sanderlings, 2 Curlews and 2 Ringed Plovers. The only other wader I had was an unidentified species being carried off in the talons of a Peregrine!

The sea was quite interesting and this is where the Skuas come in. I had three dark morph Arctic Skuas this morning and one gave excellent views as it headed west just along the tide line. Other birds at sea included 31 Cormorants, 24 Gannets, 9 Red-breasted Mergansers, 7 Shelducks, 4 Red-throated Divers (including a close in full summer plumaged bird), 302 Common Scoters (a respectable count for here), 10 Sandwich Terns and 14 Eiders.

I called in at the Cemetery afterwards but as expected there were no migrants and the Nature Park was very quiet with few wildfowl other than 7 Tufted Ducks.

We received the details of some recoveries from the BTO in the week and amongst them were two standout movements. The first was a Coot colour-ringed at Stanley Park, Blackpool on 21st October 2010 that was sighted 230 km to the north in Loanhead, Midlothian, Scotland on 2nd February 2012.

The other was a Goldfinch ringed at Rawcliffe Moss on 2nd September 2011, controlled at Cadborough, East Sussex 407 km to the southeast on 16th October 2011. See the Google Earth image below (Coot movement in yellow and Goldfinch movement in red).

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