25 November, 2012

No No No No No......

I'm suffering a terrible torment, real mind-rending horror. That @$^*£$$%% robby williams song is stuck in my head. I may have to take drastic action. Where did I leave that hammer...??


I suppose I really ought to behave, but why start now?

So... As the media claimed that most of the country was under several feet of water, I decided to be a responsible birder and stayed on't Patch.

Never mind that the fun weather had buggered off overnight and the next lot wasn't due until- well it's here now, actually. The wind was still blowing, everything was very soggy, there were rain bands and so on forecast, and a nice easing in the wind might encourage stuff blown up the Channel to come a wandering past? Long-tailed Skuas, Little Auks, and Stormies had been seen in the week - any one of those would do nicely.

Of course, Hope's Nose works to it's own rules. These are non-linear / chaotic / bloody annoying / unpredictable / all of the above... but that's what makes it interesting. Often conditions like these lead to 4 Gannets and a Fulmar.....  But the South West's Biggest Chumming Machine was still on line, so you never know what might turn up. Also, there was the chance that the Scoters which seem to have taken to lurking around the Lead and Ore Stones might be about and may have a friend of some sort with them? And it's November, so divers and grebes are definitely on the menu.

Six hours of sunshine, impressive clouds, squally showers, and a good compact rain band later....

A near-total lack of S's to report; no skuas, shearwaters, Stormies, or Sab's. Drat. The Scoters were about, and being right little buggers, too, but more on them later. A surprise Patch year tick came in the form of a pair of Wigeon; which came north, plonked down briefly, then headed on again. Also of Patch interest were the 6 Common Gulls - a big number for here - which stayed on the outfall, with the bunch of Herrings, Geebs, BHGs, and a fair few Kittiwakes. The latter showing very well at point-blank range in the sunny bits :) No Little Gulls, alas, but a lone LBB and a good candidate for argentatus Herring, were also among the gang.

Kittiwakes proved the most common passing species, with 306 going south [plus 9 north and a score still on the slick when I left]. Gannets were moving intermittently, but due to my clicker dying, I don't have an accurate [stop laughing] count - 'about 200' is the best I can do. The balance of passage was south; with Fulmars 9/1, Razorbills 56/5, Guillemots 14/1, and auk sp. 4/1

The first GC Grebes of the winter showed up, with 3 on the sea close in and another passing south. Divers got into the fun; 10 Great Northerns came south, with three seen to land and at least two of those hanging around. The only non-GN D was the first to pass, a very smart Black-throat. :) Only one diver passed inside the Ore Stone - a rather tatty-looking immature GND - though in the rare seconds the settled ones were visible between waves and dives, the two [or possibly more - only one ever visible at once, separation via plumage] didn't show too badly.

The Scoters were hanging about in the lee of the Ore Stone, and the swell, combined with their diving and moving about made going through them, let alone counting them, and exercise in bloody-minded stubbornness! After much effort, I reckon there were at least 23. [[There could, of course, have been another 123 hidden 'round the back...]] There were at least 6 Purple Sands there, as I saw them fly in and not come out again! Sneaky sneaky.... Well, you learn something new every day; there's Purple Sand-friendly habbo [[weedy rocks, then]] on the other side of the Ore Stone.

And on that earth-shattering revelation, I shall say farewell.....

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