I realise that my blog title is a bit of an oxymoron but this morning seemed quiet at times, but there was plenty going on! I arrived at the point at 0530 to five oktas cloud cover and a cool 20 mph SSW wind. I was soon joined by Ian and a little later by Len.
All the time we were seawatching Dunlins were flying further up the shore to roost as the tide ran in. In total we had 923 fly past, or should I say 923 that were counted, as there were quite a few more birds than that. Other waders included a Whimbrel east, 32 Ringed Plovers, 59 Grey Plovers, 48 Bar-tailed Godwits and 107 Sanderlings. Amongst the Sanderlings were two colour ringed birds.
At times the sea passage seemed quiet but when everything was totalled up it was quite busy. Totals for some species included 621 Common Scoters flying out of the bay, two Red-breasted Mergansers, 13 Auk sp., 34 Sandwich Terns, 73 Gannets (including some stonking views of birds close in), seven Red-throated Divers, seven Razorbills, nine Manx Shearwaters, three Guillemots, a Great Crested Grebe and a Kittiwake.
At 0740 I picked a diver up flying out of the bay that didn't look quite right and had all the jizz of Black-throated Diver. I got Ian on to the bird and then Len and we all agreed it was indeed a Black-throat. As it headed west out of the bay it was moving further and further offshore.
At 0810 there was more excitement in the form of a pale morph Arctic Skua that Ian picked up just over the beach and giving some of the best views I have ever had of a pale morph Arctic Skua here. As it 'motored' east in to the bay it was steadily gaining height presumably in preparation for an over land crossing to the east coast.
The third excitement of the morning was a male Peregrine that caused pandemonium amongst all the Dunlin and Sanderling asit gave a spectacular aerial display as it gave chase. Unfortunately for one of the Sanderlings it caught it's breakfast at it's third stoop and carried its meal off inland.
Visible migration was restricted to a handful of Swallows heading northeast across the bay and grounded migrants to a couple of Whitethroats. It looks like more seawatching tomorrow, with hopefully some ringing on Monday morning.
Join us for Dune delights at Killinallan this Sunday (2nd July) - The Best Dune Flowers of Islay This is one of my favourite nature rAmbles each year there is so much to see in a short space of time. A wondrous patchwork...
2 hours ago