30 December, 2011

Oil Spill in Torbay

How's that for a dramatic title?

Flows much better than 'Trawler Leaks Diesel All Over Outer Harbour, Haldon Pier, and Coastline Towards London Bridge', which is what has happened. Joy.

But before all that.....

With the year almost up, I bashed the Patch in the vain hope of another Year Tick. I did almost get lucky, as a flock of 12 Scoter flew in from the south and splashed down briefly off Oddicombe [yes, there again...]. Unfortunately very very far off Oddicombe, and too briefly. 5 were definite female Common, the rest were probably males, but could have been Velvet or Surf or frickin' Stejneger's, such was the range, light, and jinking! Drat.

A diver sp. was also in the vicinty, and what could be seen looked quite good for a Black-throat, but again too far out. Double drat. Much more obliging was an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, which looked very nice for intermedius [probably one of the ones that have graced the Backwater]. Aside from another wintering male Blackcap, there were no other notables, though plenty of regulars to enjoy, before I got to Haldon and smelt the spill. It was a pretty colourful thing, but oh I was spitting.... >:( A lone Turnstone was more staggering then scuttling along the pier top, 3 Purple Sands were picking at barnacles as high above the water as they could get.. The sound of urgent repairs resounded from the trawler sitting in the middle of the slick. Now for the icing on the cake; to my shocked amazement, several morons chavs individuals were happily fishing through the hydrocarbons... Mad.

Out in the north end of Tor Bay, a couple of Black-necked Grebes and a half dozen Great Crested were happily upwind of the slick. As its only [only] diesel, I believe it should evaporate/dissipate fairly quickly, though I doubt the rich gits will be happy when they see what's happened to their pretty white yachts...

Cutting back to Thursday...
Wet, very windy, what to do? Time for something a bit random! I went to try a seawatch from Froward Point - specifically the 6" Battery I'd noticed earlier in the year. It was a long and very exposed walk down there, no farmland birds! The Battery itself has two very convenient 'Observation Posts', [which originally held searchlights] which make fair seawatching hides, if a little open to the south... I actually got to sit down, out of the wind and rain, with a roof [a reinforced concrete roof!] over my head and seawatch. Oh, the luxury! There are even two nice big Runnelstone-esque buoys to use as markers, plus big rocks - its like 'gwarra and Pendeen rolled into one. ;) Now if only the birds had been so obliging...

An adult Yellow-legged Gull was very nice, a Bonxie attending a trawler was very distant, a diver sp. on the sea was very slippery in the swell... Otherwise; if I added up Gannets, Razorbills, Guillemots and Kittiwakes in the 3 hours I gave it I'd get a neat 100. Yeah... There were 2 close cetaceans, the second of which looked very much like a Risso's Dolphin, but the first [which was very close to the probable Risso's in time and space] was big, black, with a broad-based falcate fin with a markedly rounded tip. I really am not sure... Oh well.

Ooh! Almost forgot - a Common Gull flew past south too!

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