31 December, 2012

Another Year Bites The Dust, Part 2; The Last Watch

Almost forgot!

Right then, here we go again! Incoming front, strong SW forecast, so down to the Nose to end the year in style. Maybe.

Remembered all my kit this time, which helped, but the wind was a lot more S than W - a SSW pushing SSE which was just right to make the Nose rather inhospitable. I'd plonked down on the Steps, but the wind wouldn't let me be and took a bite out of my bumbleshoot, which made staying vaguely dry even harder. I had a look at the Seawatching Spot, but the wind was coming in from both sides, so it was worse! So I stuck it out, wedged in sideways on the Steps and made out ok - albeit waiting out the rain watching almost 90° from my preferred direction. The bumbleshoot needs a fair bit of surgery but I'm hopeful of a full recovery. ;)

The birds were worth it, though. In 6 hours;

Gannets 265 [clicker may still be acting up a bit, so this a minimum figure]
Auks 793/1 [of those identified, about 60% Razorbills]
Kittiwakes 538 [seen to pass]
Fulmars 104+ [due to them  messing about the slick, I abandoned the count - this is the minimum figure for passage]
GND 8 + 3 on the sea - one off the Lead Stone all day and two more in Hope Cove when I left
diver sp. 1
Bonxies 6 [one had a 1w Herring for lunch]
Turnstone 13 - settled on the rocks
C Scoters 19+ on sea
Harbour Porpoises 3+

Everything was going south [with or without lingering] with the exception of one lone Razorbill! The rates varied quite a bit, with half of the Kitts in front of the front and the Gannet rate spiking once the rain cleared from 10 to 100/hr!

The outfall duly kicked in when the rain did and the slick attracted counts of 66 Fulmar [thus the passage count abandonment], 120 BHG, 3 Common Gull, 185 GBB. There was a constant presence of Kittiwakes once the slick developed, so the count given may well be markedly lower than actual passage. Of the divers, one of the Red-throats and two of the Great Northerns were well outside the Ore Stone and clearly heading south with intent, the rest passed inside and appeared to be heading into the Bay.

Well, that's 2012 done and dusted. An interesting year, ending in an appropriate manner - with rain! :D

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