I intending to post right after getting back, but was slightly distracted by low-flying Red Arrows.. :)
Right then, before I get to today's fun and games...
Yesterday I took opportunity given by the lull in the weather to batter the Patch for migrants, getting a very nice Spotted Flycatcher for my troubles, despite all the bods wandering about. That and a Stonechat stood out among a few phylloscs at the Nose, plus two Turnstones which flew inland towards the harbour [?]. Little anywhere else, though, aside from noting the continued presence of the House Martins.
Got up at just after aaaarrrgghhh o'clock and toddled back to my beloved Hope's Nose [;)]. Squished into the end of The Steps and stayed put for 9 hours. In this time it rained. Oh cheese and whiskers did it rain. I've not seen rain that hard for a long while, it was coming down so hard it looked like the rocks were boiling! To put it a little more properly; the wind was SSSE to S, moving to SSW [to SE in a couple of squalls] to SW, strong with some very strong gusts. Rain bands and powerful squalls, eventually clearing to sunshine and fluffy white clouds [with big showers passing in the distance].
So what did I get soaked for? Mostly Gannets. Out of 1127 counted seabirds, 604 were Gannets. Big numbers of non-Gannet birds were not the order of the day. I did get variety and no small amount of quality, so I'm not unhappy.
I'll cut to the chase with the skuas; first Long-tail showed up at 0728, dithered and vanished into the murk without being seen to pass. Second was a cracking dark morph at 1053, which looked uncannily like a certain artist's rendering from Across The Bay ;) and certainly headed off that way! Third was another intermediate at 1257, which also didn't seem to pass. So 2 or 3 Long-tails for me. Skuas were light on the sea full stop, with 1 [cracking] Pomarine, 3 Bonxies [all after the front] - one with a lot of white showing in the upperwing due to moulty coverts - and 9 Arctic, plus 1 skua sp. which was probably Arctic, too. The first Arctic went north and didn't return that I saw [it was a superb adult dark morph - came through inside the Lead Stone!], all the rest went south.
Why so few? Same reason as only 139 Manx, 11 Balearic, and 4 Sooty Shearwaters; the bloody 'Lavender Ace'! This was a
The terns were less bothered, I counted 21 Commic [due to poor visibility - they were all together!], 25 Common, 7 Sarnie, 3 Arctic, and a lovely adult Roseate [ :) ] - which stood out very nicely, especially when it came past the Ore Stone.
Odds n' sods were 8 Common Scoter, a Whimbrel, a Razorbill, a Common Gull, and 2 adult LBBs.
Fulmar count came to 121, but I know they were looping back as I saw one do it when I was walking down, so don't take much notice!
Finally, pretty gulls; 165 Kittiwakes included 11 juveniles, and last but oh so not least.. a Sabine's Gull! :D Sneaking through in the rain at 1058. Sweet.
It wasn't an easy watch by any measure, far different from Monday, which felt a bit like a holiday at the time and a whole lot like it today, especially when I realised my 'waterproof' trollies had leaked again*. Time for more duct tape, methinks. Even Hermione was in a funny mood, pecking my toe to remind me she was there in case I had any spare bits of sarnie. I didn't, as she'd turned up late, and so the cheeky gull had to settle for an apple core.
[*The main reason** I stayed on past 1500 was to dry off....***]
[**Though there were a couple of Arctics, too].
[***I should point out to anyone who got a pair of those fishing troosers after I plugged them, that I was effectively sitting in a pool of water, so it's not entirely surprising that a tiny leak slowly and sneakily soaked me.]