03 October, 2010

Berry Head

The forecast having changed seemingly with every iteration, I decided to do things the old fashioned way; set my alarm for "Aaauuurghhh....." o'clock and see what the weather was doing.

Rain, wind, and lots of both.


Ok, "Argh - get up and get going...." would be more accurate.

Dodging assorted debris en route, I arrived at the seawatching spot at Berry not long after 7:00 to find it shockingly deserted! Ok, the sun hadn't actually risen yet, but still....

Sunrise through the clouds and rain was very pretty, and the cue for passage to begin. Having seen what passed Certain Other Places, I'm a little less happy than I was [I don't know where the hell the Sab's and the Long-tail got to, but they didn't pass Berry!] but vexation at norty birds aside, it was a good day.

Three brave souls joined and departed during the 7 hours I gave it, and while nobody got on everything we all saw something. [That sounded better in my head]. Skuas, while not close to Friday's numbers, were moving - especially after the front passed and the suddenly west wind blew a flood of Arctics out of Torbay. Interestingly, a lot of the skuas were happy to spend time chasing the 'poor innocent gulls of Torbay' instead of pushing on through, and many was the Geeb who got Bonxied! A very close Sooty was a real treat [unlike the Poms, which kept their distance], and several Balearics performed well too.

Notable scores [All South unless stated];
Stormie 1 [Came in behind trawler]
Sooty 3
Balearic 11
Pom Skua 2 [including one with bits of spoons]
Arctic Skua 24
Bonxie 26
Skua spp. 5
Razorbill 16
Arctic Tern 2
Common Scoter 1 [North, then back South]
Gannet 504 [on the clicker - but there were a lot I missed]
Kittiwake 99 [Ditto]
Harbour Porpoise 2+
'Lord Nelson' 1

Bashing assorted bits of cover for migrants produced no spectacular rarities [or even any unspectacular ones], sitting seawatching produced another Wheatear. :) Also several groups of passerines passed in several directions - including a group of 30+ finch spp. in/off from the ESE and 2 alba Wagtails out/to to the E.

I could have gone chasing a Devon tick in Prawle, or a Lifer [ish] in cornwall, but it's been too long since my last good seawatch, and I've not had enough generally this year - what with weather patterns and the whole work thing - so I'm happy with my choice. Did I mention I'm a bit of a seawatching junky?

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