07 February, 2011

200 In Style

200 posts! My word what a lot of nonsense I've written....

Having resisted the urge to mutter last night, I instead got me to bed and then dragged up this morning and headed down to the Nose. Wind blowing a hoolie? Check. Sideways rain? Check. Ore Stone barely in sight? Check. No birds able to hang on to the Lead Stone? Check. Nearly got blown into the crevasse making the traverse to the seawatching position? Check... All good signs. ;)

Auk passage was.. brisk. From 0850 to 0950 I counted 1447 [I'd spent a while just going "Woah..". And not seeing the Snow Bunting, of course] with 441 Kittiwake and 202 Gannet. The auk total [mostly Razorbills] is not entirely accurate, as the bastards were coming through at 4 ranges, which included 'edge of visibility' and 'almost overhead', so quite a few will have got past me. It was impressive. [Devon Birder] joined me part way through my count, and he found the SnoBunt, so any attempt at a full count of passage was abandoned to see the little darling.. [Aww] I took another hour count after the front had passed [1135-1235] and got 231 auks, 41 Kitts and no Gannets [as they were all too busy fishing].

Chief spectacle was sustained and large scale feeding to the north by at least 1200 assorted Herring and Black-backed Gulls, Kittiwakes and Gannets. All the fuss attracted a couple of skuas - an immature dark morph Pomarine* and a Bonxie - the Pom was particularly showy, coming in close to show us how to molest Kitts and lurk dangerously on the sea. :) It also attracted a trawler [ok, maybe their fish-finder sonar did the attracting..]. 3 Common Scoter, a couple of divers and a steady trickle of Fulmars passed south, while 3 female Eider hung around Hope Cove, periodically coming right in [were these the three ladies of the Berry blockhouse, or had they come down from Dawlish Warren like the immature male?]. 20 Oyks were roosting on the toe of the Nose when I arrived, but as the tide started to drop they flew off north.

[[*The amount of covert barring implied second or even third winter, but dark morphs show less barring than lights, and the tail shape aged it as a 1w - duly messed up by me at the time.... :( ]]

Sunshine, WNW winds, and the lack of passage and coffee sent me home [pausing to talk to assorted birders coming down for the Bunting]. Late afternoon I had a look off Blackball and counted 152 GC Grebes, with the trawler and ~1200 gulls, 70 Gannets [which helpfully sat together on the sea at one point for me to count] and 2 skuas [big and dark is all I could get at the range] in sight to the E. 'Twas a fun day indeed; not just a satisfying Patch Tick, but the pleasure of watching a showy Pom doing it's thing and a good passage of seabirds gong by without having to concentrate on counting them! [Oh what a slacker...]

PYL: 89

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